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South Dakota

South Dakota is a U. S. state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American tribes, who compose a large portion of the population and dominated the territory. South Dakota is the seventeenth largest by area, but the fifth smallest by population and the 5th least densely populated of the 50 United States; as the southern part of the former Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889 with North Dakota. Pierre is the state capital and Sioux Falls, with a population of about 187,200, is South Dakota's largest city. South Dakota is bordered by the states of North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Montana; the state is bisected by the Missouri River, dividing South Dakota into two geographically and distinct halves, known to residents as "East River" and "West River". Eastern South Dakota is home to most of the state's population, the area's fertile soil is used to grow a variety of crops. West of the Missouri River, ranching is the predominant agricultural activity, the economy is more dependent on tourism and defense spending.

Most of the Native American reservations are in West River. The Black Hills, a group of low pine-covered mountains sacred to the Sioux, are in the southwest part of the state. Mount Rushmore, a major tourist destination, is there. South Dakota has a temperate continental climate, with four distinct seasons and precipitation ranging from moderate in the east to semi-arid in the west; the state's ecology features species typical of a North American grassland biome. Humans have inhabited the area for several millennia, with the Sioux becoming dominant by the early 19th century. In the late 19th century, European-American settlement intensified after a gold rush in the Black Hills and the construction of railroads from the east. Encroaching miners and settlers triggered a number of Indian wars, ending with the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. Key events in the 20th century included the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, increased federal spending during the 1940s and 1950s for agriculture and defense, an industrialization of agriculture that has reduced family farming.

While several Democrats have represented South Dakota for multiple terms in both chambers of Congress, the state government is controlled by the Republican Party, whose nominees have carried South Dakota in each of the last 13 presidential elections. Dominated by an agricultural economy and a rural lifestyle, South Dakota has sought to diversify its economy in areas to attract and retain residents. South Dakota's history and rural character still influence the state's culture. South Dakota is in the north-central United States, is considered a part of the Midwest by the U. S. Census Bureau; the culture and geography of western South Dakota have more in common with the West than the Midwest. South Dakota has a total area of 77,116 square miles, making the state the 17th largest in the Union. Black Elk Peak named Harney Peak, with an elevation of 7,242 ft, is the state's highest point, while the shoreline of Big Stone Lake is the lowest, with an elevation of 966 ft. South Dakota is bordered to the north by North Dakota.

The geographical center of the U. S. is 17 miles west of Castle Rock in Butte County. The North American continental pole of inaccessibility is between Allen and Kyle, 1,024 mi from the nearest coastline; the Missouri River is the longest river in the state. Other major South Dakota rivers include the Cheyenne, Big Sioux, White Rivers. Eastern South Dakota has many natural lakes created by periods of glaciation. Additionally, dams on the Missouri River create four large reservoirs: Lake Oahe, Lake Sharpe, Lake Francis Case, Lewis and Clark Lake. South Dakota can be divided into three regions: eastern South Dakota, western South Dakota, the Black Hills; the Missouri River serves as a boundary in terms of geographic and political differences between eastern and western South Dakota. The geography of the Black Hills, long considered sacred by Native Americans, differs from its surroundings to such an extent it can be considered separate from the rest of western South Dakota. At times the Black Hills are combined with the rest of western South Dakota, people refer to the resulting two regions divided by the Missouri River as West River and East River.

Eastern South Dakota features higher precipitation and lower topography than the western part of the state. Smaller geographic regions of this area include the Coteau des Prairies, the Dissected Till Plains, the James River Valley; the Coteau des Prairies is a plateau bordered on the east by the Minnesota River Valley and on the west by the James River Basin. Further west, the James River Basin is low, flat eroded land, following the flow of the James River through South Dakota from north to south; the Dissected Till Plains, an area of rolling hills and fertile soil that covers much of Iowa and Nebraska, extends into the southeastern corner of South Dakota. Layers deposited during the Pleistocene epoch, starting around two million years ago, cover most of eastern South Dakota; these are the youngest rock and sediment layers in the state, the product of several successive periods of glaciation which deposited a large amount of rocks and soil, known as till, over the area. The Great Plains cover most of the western two-thirds of South Dakota.

West of the Missouri

Myrtos Beach

Myrtos Beach is in the region of Pylaros, in the north-west of Kefalonia island, in the Ionian Sea of Greece. Myrtos beach lies between the feet of Agia Dynati and Kalon Oros; the surrounding sediment at Myrtos Beach is made up of marble material, a metamorphosed limestone. The beach is made up of white cobblestones; the sediment becomes smaller as you approach the shoreline. Because the slope angle has an abrupt drop near the edge of the shoreline, the wave energy is high and causes the gradation trends from cobbles to pebbles along the beach. Longshore drift, along with wave energy, has shaped the shore; as waves curve along the beach they pick up the finest bits of marble. Myrtos has been described as "one of the most dramatic beaches in Greece", with its "mile-and-a-half long arc of dazzling white pebbles."It was used as the location for the mine explosion episode in the film Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Myrtos has been voted 12 times the best Greek beach while it features in best beaches lists.

A steep, winding road, about 2 km in length and with hairpin turns, leads down to the beach from the village of Divarata. During the high tourist-season in the summer, the Municipality of Pylaros runs a public bus service to and from Myrtos Beach, departing from the harbour area in Agia Efimia. Timetables can be found at the Tourist Information office in Agia Efimia and may be listed online; the bus stops on the road leading down to the beach. Private-car parking is available at the base of the cliffs. There are several tavernas at the top of the road leading down to the beach in the village of Divarata, a beach bar. Beach lounges and umbrellas are available for hire 38.342885°N 20.536189°E / 38.342885.

Gemmological Institute of India

Gemmological Institute of India is a gemmology training school in Mumbai, India. The Gemmological Institute of India is a non-profit school in Mumbai that conducts courses on gemmology, it was founded in April 1971 by Bombay. It offers diplomas for gemmology and diamond grading, courses on jewellery design and bead stringing, diamond casting, craftsman training; the school courses enable students to take the certification of Fellow of Gemmological Association examination of the United Kingdom. It publishes; the GII is recognized by CIBJO, an international confederation of jewellery trading industry that harmonizes standards set by gem testing laboratories. The GII established India's first Gem Testing Laboratory in 1971, started India's first Gemmology course in 1974, it started its Research and Development Laboratory in the field of gem stones in 1976, its first Diamond Assorting and Grading Course in 1978. It started the first correspondence course in Gemmology in India in 1983, Jewellery Casting and Jewellery Designing courses in 1995.

The Gem Testing Laboratory was recognized by the International apex organization of Gem and Jewellery Trade, CIBJO. With increasing consumer awareness, the jewellery industry worldwide began to issue certifications to attest the quality of gem and diamond products; the GII started diamond certification in India in 2000.. In November 2004, during the 25th convocation, it was announced that the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Diamond Exporters' Association Ltd, Bharat Diamond Bourse and Gem and Jewellery Exporters' Association together with the Gemmological Institute of India will provide funds to set up a research centre in Mumbai, to carry out research and development activities for synthetic diamond and high pressure high temperature treated diamonds; the board was expanded to include eleven trustees, six from GJEPC, three from Gem and Jewellery Exporters' Association, one from Bharat Diamond Bourse and one from Diamond Exporters' Association Ltd. In 2005, it was estimated that 5000 people have been trained in gemmology by GII since its inception.

In October 2005, The GII acquired 4,500 square feet of premises at Sukh Sagar Building at the Opera House to expand its diamond grading laboratory Services. The new facility is called the National Research Centre. In 2005, the department of scientific and industrial research of the central government of India, recognized the R&D Laboratory as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. In 2006, the GII tied up with Panjab University, Chandigarh as a research center for Ph. D. Studies in the field of gemstones and diamonds. An issue the world's jewellery traders face is that synthetic diamonds, which are cheaper and now widespread, can be used to defraud consumers of natural diamonds; as synthetic diamond technology becomes more accessible it is necessary for consumers, importers and government to be sure of the grade and quality of the diamond or gemstone. Synthetic diamonds may be produced by high-pressure, high-temperature method or chemical vapor deposition method, which leave their signatures in the composition of the diamond.

Research includes investigating techniques to look for these differences and distinguish natural gem stones from artificially produced ones. Website of Gemmological Institute of India Information on the website of Gem and Jewellery export council Indian Gem and Jewellery Magazine, article April May 2006 Blog on India's Diamond Industry