Found: History, Bones, Treasure
The Florida-based treasure-hunting firm Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. announced their discovery of Admiral John Balchin's legendary warship, the HMS Victory, in the frigid waters of the English Channel. Lost 265 years ago during a fierce gale, the wreck contains a pirate's delight of gold coins, possibly valued at over $1 billion dollars. None of the more than 900 sailors aboard survived.
Mountain Gorillas' Triumph
Despite a recent history pockmarked by government scandal and infrastructural instability, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has some good news. The Congolese Wildlife Authority (ICCN) has determined that 81 mountain gorillas now reside permanently inside Virunga National Park, marking a 12.5 percent population increase. However, the celebration looks to be short-lived. Congolese rebels recently gained a new and formidable leader, making the gorillas' continued protection an uphill struggle. Read more on the situation in Virunga in our March issue's Special Report.
Expedition Hat Trick
Arctic explorer Eric Larsen has started a journey that will take him to the farthest reaches of the Earth. If he completes the “Save the Poles" expedition by fall 2010, Larsen will become the first person in history to lead expeditions to the North and South Poles as well as Mount Everest in a continuous 365-day period. Larsen has just returned from an Antarctic training trip, in which he and his team traversed more than 600 miles in 41 days.
Alaska's Volcanic Redux
After remaining silent for almost 20 years, Alaska’s Mount Redoubt volcano could erupt within days or weeks, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory. The renewed bout of activity began last fall, and on the morning of February 2, the observatory reported an intense volcanic tremor lasting roughly six minutes. Mount Redoubt is located just 100 miles from Anchorage, a city where officials have been advising residents to stock up on everything from extra food to respirators, plastic bags, and windshield washer fluid.
Whales Lose in Iceland
As if the decline of the krona wasn’t enough of a problem already, the land of fire and ice heats up with an announcement from the Iceland fisheries ministry to increase whaling quotas. According to Icelandic scientists, the new quota, which would allow whalers to catch 100 minke whales and 150 fin whales, is not expected to severely damage the whale population. However, the Iceland Nature Conservation Association (INCA) is not convinced, calling the move “an act of sabotage” against incoming policy makers.