These dramatic wonders of nature are proof that Mother Nature can surprise even the most advanced travelers. Take, for example, the spotty Lake Kliluk, which, with its coloring, is more like a rug for playing Twister. In this selection, you will not find stereotypical landscapes with blue lakes, green valleys and white sandy beaches. For millions of years, our planet has been working tirelessly. With the help of the power of water, wind and sun, a number of unique attractions have appeared, the existence of which is sometimes impossible to believe. However, these places exist in reality and you have the opportunity to visit them. Long before scientists could explain the origin of such places, people came up with their own explanations. As a result, many legends and tales appeared, which are passed down from generation to generation. Today, many miracles are no longer covered with a veil of secrecy, but this does not make them less majestic and unusual.
Marble Caves of Chile
The marble caves in Chile were created as a result of six thousand years of erosion, which was the main force in creating unique marble-effect patterns. All this is enhanced by the reflection of the bluish-green water of Lake Carrera. The incredible Marble Caves are located on the border of Argentina and Chile. Travelers still have a unique chance to swim inside the caves in a kayak. The government is currently discussing plans to build a dam that could flood the entire area and expose the caves to deep water.
Lake Retba, Senegal
It looks like someone poured a giant bucket of paint into the waters of Lake Retba, Senegal, turning them bright pink. In fact, the water of the lake has acquired this color due to the active reproduction of an alga called Dunaliella salina, which releases a specific pigment. The salt content of Retba’s water is extremely high, reaching up to 40 percent in some places, which further promotes the growth of algae. Even if you don’t know how to swim, you can safely jump into the waters of the lake, since it’s impossible to drown here for the reason mentioned above. A white layer of dried salt covers the shores of this unusual place. A full cycle of salt collection is organized here, with subsequent sale to numerous tourists. You can read about other amazing pink lakes in the world in a separate selection.
Ausbirgi Canyon, Iceland
Legend has it that Asbirgi Canyon in northern Iceland was created when the horse of the god Nors struck the ground with its horseshoe. As a result of this blow, a gorge appeared 100 meters deep, three kilometers long and almost a kilometer wide. According to a more modern interpretation, the canyon was formed after two periods of melting glaciers about 10,000 years ago. But standing on top of a cliff and looking at the extraordinary beauty of the horseshoe-shaped canyon, one believes more in a story with God than in an official scientific interpretation. This is one of the most outstanding sights in Iceland, which is definitely worth a visit.
Uyuni Salt Flat, Bolivia
When the prehistoric lake dried up about 30,000 years ago, there were only endless white expanses of salt landscape covering the entire horizon. The Uyuni Salt Flats is the largest salt field in the world, covering an area of 6,000 square kilometers. More than 25,000 tons of salt are mined here annually, which provides work for local communities. The Salar de Uyuni is home to thousands of pink flamingos and attracts tourists with the Palacio de Sal. The 16-room hotel is located in the middle of a salt desert and is made entirely of salt blocks.
Pamukkale in Turkey
People have been visiting Pamukkale for its healing pools for thousands of years. Water flowing from 17 underground sources fills natural pools. Due to the high content of calcium, soft rocks are formed at the source, which eventually harden and turn into a kind of dome called Pamukkale. The locals call these fountains the poetic name “Cotton Castle”. The largest springs of pamukkale are visible even from a distance of 10 kilometers.
Moving stones in California’s Death Valley are one of the most mysterious phenomena of nature, which has many explanations. No one has yet seen one of the moving rocks in Death Valley directly in motion, but evidence of their travels is visible from long marks on the ground that stretch for hundreds of meters. Scientists are not sure exactly how these hundreds of kilograms of stones make their way along the dried-up bottom of the lake. The prevailing theory is that the rocks move on wet ground under the influence of strong winds. The deep marks they leave behind indicate a path of 300 meters from their starting point.
Convex White Rocks of strange shape and size rise above the desert about 50 kilometers north of the city of Farafra in Western Egypt. A group of formations in the White Desert resembles a herd of melted snowmen, or the work of some avant-garde sculptor. But in fact, they were formed due to millennia of wind exposure. When the ancient sea in this area dried up and left dried land behind, the remnants of the rock began to crumble. Softer layers collapsed faster, and stronger ones formed rocks of such an unusual shape. This is the mystery of the white desert of Egypt.
Round boulders line the Moeraki beach in New Zealand, reaching several meters in diameter. Their bizarre shapes resemble huge marble dinosaur eggs, or submerged historical turtles, ready to get up and get rid of the sand at any moment. The imagination gives rise to many other mystical explanations, but in fact, these masses of compacted sediment formed underground more than 50 million years ago. Gradually, the sand surrounding them sank until the Moeraki Boulders appeared on the surface. Similar boulders can be found on beaches in other parts of the world, including the US, Canada, and Russia. There is no mysticism here and everything has long been described in biology textbooks.
People travel to the Sierra de la Macarena National Park in Central Colombia to see the unusual Caño Cristales River. It is also called the river of 5 colors, liquid rainbow and even the most beautiful river in the world. It is important to choose the right season here, as the water reaches its most beautiful color between July and December. At this time, it is more like a kaleidoscope of pink, green, and blue. To this splendor is added a yellow tint thanks to the algae Macarenia Clavigera, which lives on the river bottom and blooms under the influence of sunlight.
Eye of the Sahara
This huge oval-shaped depression is more than 40 kilometers wide and resembles a darts target on the flat surface of the desert in Mauritania. The Richat, or Eye of the Sahara, structure is visible even from space and has served as a guide for astronauts since the earliest flights. The eye is not the result of an alien game of darts. The depression was formed under the influence of winds, which destroyed various layers of sedimentary rocks at different depths.
Spotted Kliluk Lake is located in British Columbia, Canada. The surface of this lake resembles a mat for the popular game of Twister. This wonder of nature is located a few kilometers from the border of the state of Washington in the Canadian city of Osoyoos. Each summer, much of the water in this mineral-rich lake evaporates, leaving behind large pools of high concentrations of salts, titanium, calcium, sulfates and other minerals. Their combination forms a whole series of green, yellow and brown circles of different sizes. Spotted Lake is sacred to the Canadian Indians of the Okanagan Valley and the land is privately owned by the Indian community. Tourists are forbidden to come close to the lake, so as not to disturb the fragile ecosystem, but you can admire it from the nearby road, which offers a great view.
Shilin stone forest
This is a very unusual forest. Most of the trees in China’s remote Yunan province are made of stone. Covering approximately 300 square kilometers, the area was under water 270 million years ago. The seabed was covered with limestone sediment. Gradually the water receded and the bottom was on the surface. Rain and wind have eroded the soft rock over the millennia, but the stronger limestone layers have survived and formed the pointed limestone spiers. Today they rise high, surrounded by leafy trees. Shilin Stone Forest is quite a popular attraction in China.
This waterfall in Antarctica has a very eerie hue, reminiscent of cascades of blood flowing over the pale Taylor Glacier. Scientists first discovered this waterfall in the McMurdo Dry Valleys in 1911. They thought that seaweed formed the dark red color of the water, but in fact the hue is due to the high iron content in the source, which is located under the glacier. Even more ominous are the corpses of penguins and seals, which do not decompose due to the extreme aridity of the region. You can read more about the secret of Blood Falls in a separate article.
Cave of Crystals
In 1910, in the Mexican Nike mine, the Penoles Mining Company discovered what is today known as the Cave of Swords. The cave was an 80-meter hall with giant selenites up to 2 meters in length. Unfortunately, the entire section of the cave was open to exploration and eventually tourism, which attracted many of the crystals to be destroyed. 90 years later, two miners working on a tunnel at a depth of 300m discovered another much larger cave. The crystals here reached 12 m in length, and each of them weighed approximately 55 tons. These were the largest crystals ever seen in the caves. It was this cave that was nicknamed the Giant Nike Crystal Cave.
Pavement of the Giants
One of Northern Ireland’s most popular attractions, the Causeway of the Giants has earned its name from the 40,000 basalt columns that form what looks like a huge giant’s bridge. The predominantly hexagonal rocks formed 60 million years ago when underground lava flows were cooled by ocean waters. Some of the stones reach 10 meters in height. The pavement of the giants in its present form took shape relatively recently — approximately 15,000 years ago, when the soil around the seaside stones collapsed under the influence of erosion.