Our imagination is not limited to the things we see, and it can take us to colorful and grand places that we might have thought were of out of this world. But what if those places truly exist – right here on our own planet?
There are places on Earth that are absolutely stunning and extraordinary. Some of these places contain phenomenon that defy the norms of our understanding. Many people have discovered picturesque landscapes and gorgeous views in even the most mundane and hidden places. Imagining such places as a reality may seem impossible but they are there for everyone to visit in awe and wonder. These jaw-dropping and other worldly places are formed by natural occurrences.
1. The Blood Falls of Antartica
Blood Falls is not actual blood – it is an outflow of iron oxide-tainted salt water that flows from the tongue of the Taylor Glacier. It flows onto the ice-covered surface of the West Lake Bonney in the Taylor Valley of the McMurdo Dry Valleys located in Victoria Land, East Antartica.
2. Zhangye Danxia Geopark in China
The sharp, colorful and smooth rock formations that expand for several hundred meters is a sight you might imagine from a fairy tail. The 24 million year old rock deposits, minerals and sandstone look like a layered rainbow cake. Over many centuries, the elements have sculpted the rock face into different shapes, patterns and colors.
3. The Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina
This glacier is the third largest reserve of fresh water on earth and this Southern Pantagonina Ice Field is considered as one of the most important sources of fresh water. The Perito Moreno Glacier is found in this ice field. It is known for its sharp drop and wonderful shape.
4. Salar De Uyuni in Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat, covering 10,582 sq km. Or 4,086 sq mi. The salt flat is located in Southwest Bolivia and is a result of many prehistoric lakes that have left water-salted crust over this plain. The salt flat is an amazing sight because it reflects the sky like a mirror image.
5. Aogashima Volcano, Japan
Aogishima Island is located just 358 km south of Tokyo in the Philippine Sea. The island is 3. 5 kilometers long and 2.5 kilometers wide. What makes this island unique is that the entire island is an active volcano crater. The island population is 200, most of them living outside the crater on the northern part of the island. There is not a lot of tourist activity on the island, but if you want to experience serenity without all the mod cons, this site is for you. Just don’t wake Godzilla…
6. Ice Caves, Juneau, Alaska
The Mendenhall Glacier is a 12-mile long glacier located in the Mendenhall Valley, 12 miles from downtown Juneau in SE Alaska. The ice caves were protected by the federal government and as part of the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area. The ice caves are inside the glacier and are only accessible to those willing to kayak to the site and climb over the glacier. Unfortunately, the ice caves collapsed in 2014 due to thinning ice and warm weather.
7. The Arizona Wave
The Wave is a formation of sandstone on the slopes of the Coyote Buttes in Northern Arizona. The sandstone formation is well known among hikers and photographers for its rugged, colorful and undulating form.
8. The Glowing Shores of Vaadhoo, Maldives
This is not CGI or the Gray Havens of Middle Earth, it’s the shores of Vaadho in the Maldives. The glowing shores are a result of phytoplanktons washing up on the shore. The phytoplanktons have what scientist called bio-luminescence, making them glow. This natural ability is a defensive mechanism used against predators. Every time these phytoplanktons are agitated, they let off their glow creating a blue light as the waves ripple them to the shore.
9. The Pink Lake Hillier In Australia
Most lakes in the world are either brown, green, blue or clear, but Lake Hillier in Australia is pink in color. Most experts have suggested the colour is a result of the lake’s salt level. Lake Hillier is 10x saltier than the ocean and is a perfect environment and breeding ground for the micro-algae called Dunaliella Salina. These algae produce pigments that absorb light which is the same stuff that makes carrots orange and some cabbages purple.
10. The Door to Hell in Turkmenistan
This fiery crater is a natural gas field in Derweze, Ahal province, Turkmenistan. This hole has been burning continuously since it was lit by Russian petrochemical scientists in 1971. The fiery crater is fed by the rich natural gas deposits of the area and although the “Gates of Hell” is a result of a drilling accident, it’s still one of the most amazing places to see on Earth.
11. The Great Blue Hole off The Coast of Belize
The great blue hole is a large submarine sinkhole located off the coast of Belize. It’s located near the center of Lighthouse Reef and is circular in shape, measuring 984 ft across and 407 ft deep. The hole was believed to be formed between 153,000 to 15,000 years ago. The marine site was made famous by Jacues Cousteau, who declared it one of the best diving sites in the world.
12. Abraham Lake Frozen Air Bubbles
Trapped under the frozen surface of the Abraham lake in Alberta, Canada, is methane gas that is slowly creeping its way up the frozen surface. This natural phenomena has created beautiful and frozen air bubbles. The air bubbles melt and freeze again as they make their way up.
For more amazing images of Canada in Winter, check out Emmanuel’s entire album – stunning!
13. Moscow’s Light Pillars
This light phenomenon is created by light reflection off ice crystals with almost horizontal/parallel planar surfaces. The light source can be from the Sun, Moon or man made lights such as street lights.
14. Crystal Cave in Naica, Mexico
Mexico’s Crystal Caves is home to the world’s largest natural crystal formations. Although rare, this cave in Mexico gave the perfect environmental conditions for the crystals to grow in very large and incredible sizes.
15. Tianzi Mountains, China
If you have seen the movie “Avatar”, China’s Tianzi Mountains will remind you of the “Halleluja Mountains” shown in the movie. The Tianzi mountains are located in Zhangjiajie in the Hunan Province. The mountains are named after the farmer Xiang Dakun who led a successful farmer’s revolt and dubbed himself “tianzi” or “Son of Heaven”.
These are only a few of the most amazing places on earth. Nature certainly holds many surprises and we should cherish our planet because this is the only one we’ve got, and it’s beautiful.