Alistair Sponsel

Pictures

My interests in the history of geology and natural history, exploration, and Pacific Islands have taken me to some exciting places. Here are photos of some of them (and a few bonus pictures as well!). You can click on each image for the full-sized version.

Moai in situ in the Rano Raraku quarry, Rapa Nui (Easter Island). (Photograph by A. Sponsel, August 2014)

Moai at Tongariki, on the southeast coast of Rapa Nui (Easter Island). (Photograph by A. Sponsel, August 2014)

Overlooking Motu Nui, Motu Iti, and Motu Kao Kao at Rapa Nui (Easter Island).

The site depicted in the frontispiece of Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology (vol. 1, 1830), the "Temple of Serapis" in Pozzuoli, Italy. (Photograph by A.Sponsel, June 2015)

The road below Portillo, Chile. Charles Darwin ascended the Andes by this approximate route in March 1834. (Photograph by A. Sponsel, August 2014)

Landscape near where Charles Darwin found a fossilized stand of upright trees, just outside Uspallata, Argentina. (Photograph by A. Sponsel, August 2014)

Of this area in Argentina, which he visited in 1835, Charles Darwin wrote, “On the road (from Mendoza) there is a very extraordinary view…white, red, purple & green…sedimentary rocks & black lavas; these strata are broken up by hills of Porphyry of every shade of Brown & bright Lilacs. All together they were the first mountains which I had seen which literally resembled a coloured Geological section.” (Photograph by A. Sponsel, August 2014)

The Clifton Suspension Bridge in my home town of Bristol, England. (Photograph by A. Sponsel, July 2015)

Spectacular vegetation on the flank of the 1902 cone within the caldera of Mount Pelée, Martinique. (March 2015)

Aerial view of Mt. Vesuvius showing the larger caldera of the former Mount Somma surrounding the smaller cone of Vesuvius. (Photograph by A. Sponsel, July 2015)

Mt. Etna (Photograph by A. Sponsel, July 2015)

Lava on the northwest flank of Mt. Etna. (Photograph by A. Sponsel, July 2015)

A dike at Joshua Tree National Park (Photograph by A. Sponsel, June 2013)

A surreal scene at the Oxford University Museum. (Photograph by A. Sponsel, July 2013)

An appropriate gravestone for a glacial theorist: the erratic boulder marking the grave of Louis Agassiz (and Elizabeth Cary Agassiz) at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photograph by A. Sponsel, March 2014)

Captain Cook memorial at Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii (Photograph by A. Sponsel, November 2015)

Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii Island. The Captain Cook memorial is visible (if you zoom in) on the far side of the bay, roughly at the center of the picture. (Photograph by A. Sponsel, November 2015)

Crab and lava at Kealakekua Bay. (Photograph by A. Sponsel, November 2015)

The stark landscape (and controversial observatories) atop Mauna Kea. (Photograph by A. Sponsel, November 2015)

From one volcano to another: Mauna Loa from Mauna Kea. (Photograph by A. Sponsel, November 2015)

Finally at the Summit of Mauna Kea (13,796ft/4205m) after starting at sea level. (Photograph by friendly bystander, November 2015)

How modern explorers know they have reached the Cape of Good Hope. (Screenshot by A. Sponsel, December 2015)

This is it: the Cape of Good Hope (as viewed from Cape Point, South Africa). (Photograph by A. Sponsel, December 2015)

Cape Point, South Africa, where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean. (Photograph by A. Sponsel, December 2015)

Nice to make the acquaintance of some African penguins at the Cape.