The Week in Pictures | March 7-13, 2011

An 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan and the resulting tsunami cause widespread destruction and loss of life and sparked a humanitarian crisis. Our Framework gallery of the earthquake, the largest on record to hit Japan and the world’s fifth-largest since 1900, details the disaster.

Rebellion and violence continues unabated in Libya. Protesters attend Friday prayers in Benghazi as troops loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi intensify their counteroffensive to retake ground from out-gunned insurgents.

In Southern California, high winds create sandstorms and sand dunes on the streets of Palm Springs, while a bizarre and puzzling phenomenon surfaces in the waters off Redondo Beach where millions of dead fish, apparent victims of asphyxiation, fill the harbor.

Mardi Gras is celebrated in New Orleans, ahead of Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent; a man covers a woman entirely with talcum powder — a long-abandoned courtship ritual — in the Spanish village of Tolox during the Dia de los Polvos festival; French lovers attach thousands of padlocks to the railings of the Pont des Arts pedestrian bridge over the River Seine in Paris; and in Berlin at the International Tourism Industry Fair, a booth from Libya is optimistically readied.

With the completion of space shuttle Discovery’s final mission, we have an image of the International Space Station against a dramatic backdrop of planet Earth as seen from NASA’s most-traveled space vehicle. In Stockholm, restoration begins on the Vasa, Sweden’s ill-fated, incorrectly proportioned warship that listed and sank less than a nautical mile into her maiden voyage in 1628 and was salvaged more than three centuries later.

This is just a glimpse of our Week in Pictures. There are many more images from around the world for you to explore.