Contest #545: Zoar Historic Village, Ohio, USA

In the early 19th century, a group of Germans who didn’t want to practice the state-run Lutheran religion left Germany and traveled to a small region in the US frontier. There, they created a community with utopian and communistic ideals. All of the property was communally owned, and work was assigned based on the needs of the community. They named the village after the town where Lot relocated after Sodom’s destruction, Zoar.

At the end of that century, with the capitalist morals of the day folding in on them, they abandoned that lifestyle.

Today, Zoar Village is a quaint place for tourists to come see restored German-style homes and the town garden and greenhouse.


This photo of Zoar Village State Memorial is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Those who traveled back via the Erie canal to this place included:

  • Garfield
  • Walter_V_R
  • Eloy Cano
  • Lighthouse

And after the hint:

  • Jesus Rodriguez

Contest #544: Cascata delle Marmore, Umbria, Italy

Cascatemarmore.jpg

After he decided in 271 BCE that the local wetlands were causing Malaria, Roman consul Manius Curius Dentatus ordered the construction of a canal to divert the Velino river to the cliffs at Marmore, where the water would fall into the Nera river bed, thus bypassing the marsh completely.

Best laid plans and all, the reconfigured river system had it’s own flooding problems, and over the course of the centuries, various Popes stepped in and ordered modifications. Then, after the industrial revolution, private businesses jumped into the fray.

Today, the falls are a scheduled tourist attraction. The water to the falls is diverted through a hydroelectric plant, reducing the falls to a trickle. For a few, published hours each day, the water is sent back over the falls to the delight of visitors from all over the world.

Those who splashed around included:

  • Phil Ower
  • hhgygy
  • Eloy Cano
  • Lighthouse
  • Walter_V_R
  • Garfield
  • Farceur
  • Chris Nason

And after the hint:

  • Sandworm
  • rob de wolff

Contest #543: Nashtifan Windmills, Nashtifan, Iran

The name “Nashtifan” (نشتيفان) is derived from Farsi words that mean “storm’s sting”. Average high wind speeds combined with the ingenuity of the residents of this area a millennium ago brought about a set of windmills for grinding grain that run even today.

Those who found this site included:

  • Eloy Cano
  • Lighthouse
  • mehmet durmus
  • Garfield
  • hhgygy
  • Jesus Rodriguez
  • Walter_V_R
  • Phil Ower

and after the hint:

  • Farceur
  • Ashwini Agrawal
  • donaaronio

Contest #541: Don Juan Pond, Wright Valley, Antarctica

DonJuanSTILL.0660 web.jpg

Don Juan Pond should maybe not be called a “pond” since at its deepest it hits a whopping 11cm or 4″. Also, because of the proclivity of the water from the “pond” to disappear into the depressions of nearby boulders (as you can see in this GigaPan picure)

It has 44% salinity by weight, which is 18 times saltier than the ocean and even at least 30% saltier than the Dead Sea and Lake Assal. In fact, it is so hypersaline that it never freezes — the only body of water on the continent that can claim that.

Don Juan Pond is a fairly new discovery, found by George Meyer in 1961 and named after his helicopter pilots Lt. Don Roe and Lt. John Hickey. In 1965, a pair of Japanese scientists, Tetsuya Torii and Joyo Ossaka, discovered a previously unseen form of calcium chloride (hexahydrate) with a unique crystalline structure. This mineral has taken on the name of Antarcticite.

Those who braved the cold and found this place included:

  • Glenmorren
  • hhgygy
  • Phil Ower
  • Garfield
  • Lighthouse
  • Chris Nason
  • Eloy Cano
  • Mehmet DURMUS

And after the hint:

  • Gillian B
  • ashwini agrawal
  • donaaronio
  • gscrp
  • Farceur
  • Jesus Rodriguez

Contest #539: the Verkhny Lars Border Crossing between Russia and Georgia

This week, we visited the Verkhny Lars Border Crossing between Russia and Georgia. It is the only border crossing between these two countries and is very busy – as one can see with the long lines of trucks on either side of the actual border.

There are two other border crossing locations but Georgia does not recognize Russians who cross there, meaning the Verkhny Lars Border Crossing is very busy – hence the long lines of vehicles.

At the border is the Ermolov Stone, a large glacial erratic.

Found this unique location:

  • hhgygy
  • Walter_V_R
  • Garfield
  • Eloy Cano
  • Lighthouse
  • Phil Ower

After the hint:

  • donaaronio
  • Glenmorren
  • Rob de Wolff

Contest #538: 4444 (steps), Flørli, Forsand, Norway

The Fløritrappene is the longest wooden staircase in the world. Following a trolleyway and water pipeline that fed a now-defunct power station, the stairs have become a tourist destination. There are organized races up the stairs, which for the casual tourist, is about a 3-4 hour climb.

Those who clawed their way the top included:

  • Lighthouse
  • hhgygy
  • Glenmorren
  • Jeather
  • Garfield
  • Walter_V_R
  • Phil Ower

And after the hint:

  • mehmet durmus

Contest #537: Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Plant, South Korea

Back in contest #142,we were introduced to tidal power plants in the form of the
‘Barrage de la Rance’ in France.

To refresh, tidal power plants generate energy using the motion of tides to push and pull floats which then turn turbines. Rance has 24 turbines which create a total of 240 MW, which was enough to hold the title of “Largest Tidal Power Plant in the World” for about 45 years.

Then, Shiwa Lake Tidal Power Plant was built in 2011. Shiwa was built to take advantage of a seawall gone awry. The seawall was built in 1994 to create a lake for flood mitigation and agriculture. Unfortunately, the agricultural backflush into the reservoir created a hideous pollution problem, making the water completely unfit for agriculture, as well as making for an environmental disaster. In 2004, sea water was reintroduced to flush out the toxic sludge. In 2007, someone got the idea to use the act of that flushing to create power, and the tidal power plant was born.

Shiwa produces about 254MW from its 10 submerged “bulb” generators.

Those who found this before the hint:

  • Eloy Cano
  • mehmet durmus
  • hhgygy
  • Phil Ower
  • Walter_V_R
  • Glenmorren
  • Rob de Wolff
  • Kim Chahnhee
  • Garfield
  • Lighthouse
  • Jesus Rodriguez

and after the hint:

  • Steve Hoge
  • donaaronio
  • David Kozina

Contest #536: Marx Generator at Istra High Voltage Research Center, Russia

In 1924, Dr. Erwin Marx described an electrical circuit using parallel capacitors to generate a massive electrical pulse (e.g. simulated lightning) using relatively low voltage DC supplies. The result was called a “Marx Generator”

In the 1970’s, Soviet scientists used Dr. Marx’s design to create the largest such generator outside the small town of Istra near Moscow. The Istra site was built to test both lightning resistance for both military and non-military purposes. This thing can create a bolt of lightning 150 meters long.

Those who followed the lightning and found the site before the hint were:

  • Eloy Cano
  • Walter_V_R
  • hhgygy
  • Lighthouse
  • Garfield
  • Phil Ower
  • donaaronio
  • mehmet durmus

and after the hint:

  • LawnBoy
  • Glenmorren
  • Gillian B
  • Chris Nason
  • Declan Moore
  • Newagincourt
  • Jeather

Contest #535: Triple point of electric transmission, near Gävle, Sweden

This location is the only place in the world where all 3 basic types of electricity transmission (High Voltage Direct Current, 3-phase Alternating Current, and Single-phase Alternating Current) all intersect.

High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) is pretty rarely used — primarily for very long distance transmission and/or underwater cables. The HVDC line is the one that runs from near the northwest corner of the image to the southeast. It is the Fenno-Skan2 line operated jointly by Fingrid and Svenska kraftnät. In the image below, it is the red line that runs from eastern Sweden to Finland.

HVDC Europe.svg

The other 2 lines run parallel on the track that is more north-south and are:

  • a single-phase 132kv Alternating Current (AC) line, used almost exclusively to supply train lines, that runs from Tierp to Gävle. Single phase AC lines are EXTREMELY rare.
  • a 3-phase 220kv AC line that runs from Gävle to Mehedeby.

A surprising number of people found this site with no idea whatsoever of what they were looking at. Of course, the name of the contest is “Where on Google Earth”, not “What on Google Earth”, so those who found it (all before the hint) and get the 2 points include:

  • hhgygy
  • Lighthouse
  • Garfield
  • Phil Ower
  • Walter_V_R
  • Eloy Cano

Contest #533 – Slave Huts and Salt Pans, Bonaire

Bonaire is an island in the Caribbean. It was part of the Netherlands Antilles until that was dissolved in 2010, when the residents of the island chose to remain a “Special Municipality” of the Netherlands.

Bonaire has some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the Caribbean, which is one of the reasons that tourism is so important to the island. However another economic force there is salt production.

The southern end of the island has massive salt ponds:

In the mid 1800’s, the salt ponds were worked by slaves. Small huts (emphasis on “small”) were built for the slaves as sleeping quarters.

Those who found this were:

  • hhgygy
  • Garfield
  • Lighthouse
  • Jeather
  • donaaronio
  • Walter_V_R
  • Phil Ower

And after the hint:

  • Newagincourt
  • Chris Nason