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Remnants of a forest that is dated back to the Triassic Period, about 225 million years ago, are scattered all over the park. Visitors are strictly prohibited from taking pieces of fossilized wood as souvenirs and are subject to large fines if they do, but park employees estimate that about 12 tons of petrified wood is carried off every year nonetheless. Parts of the park are referred to as “The Painted Desert” because of the bands of colors that display geological eras.
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The River of Lights is a holiday light display that runs at the Albuquerque BioPark Botanic Garden for the month of December. The event started in 1997 to raise money for the park which has a zoo, aquarium, botanic garden, and beach.
There are nearly 600 individual light displays with millions of twinkling lights, and the park employs three full-time craftsmen year-round to build new exhibits and to maintain the existing ones. It takes about two months to set up the holiday display. One of the crowd favorites is a 63 foot (19 meters) brontosaurus, named “One-Ton” because of the weight of its metal frame. “One-Ton” took nearly 600 hours to build, and has 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) of rope light.
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The Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array is a radio astronomy observatory located in central New Mexico on the Plains of San Agustin, and was a location in the movie “Contact.” It is on a fairly isolated high desert plateau (about 7,000 ft.) and surrounded by mountains, making it an ideal spot to avoid the normal wireless interference in cities. The lack of humidity in the air also makes for a clearer radio signal. There is no cell service there and visitors are asked to put their phones in airplane mode.
The array is routinely re-configured to cover different parts of the sky by moving the dishes on a network of railroad tracks.
This is part of a photo series featuring the American southwest.
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