23 Natural Wonders That You Never Knew Existed
Sometimes nature proves you simply don't need Photoshop
It's easy to forget with all the war, global warming and pollution that we throw at it, but the world is a pretty amazing place packed full of crazy beauty.
The big guy upstairs (by whom, of course, we mean Lemmy from Motorhead) has the eye of an artist and a whole planet for a canvas; when he finished putting the world together and saw that it was good he didn't just mean it worked well, he meant it looked pretty stunning too.
From the giant paint splashes of Canada's Spotted lake to insane sculptures in the Namib desert, here are 23 pics that are sure to blow your mind with just how beautiful they are.
1. The Mendenhall Ice Caves – Juneau, Alaska
Located in the 12 mile long Mendenhall glacier, you have to kayak and then ice climb to reach these stunning caves.
2. Pamukkale - River Menderes Valley, Turkey
These incredible looking pools are fed by 17 different hot springs. With temperatures ranging from ranges from 35 °C to 100 °C the calcium carbonate rich water eventually cools, forming the unusual pools that have drawn visitors for thousands of years.
3. Naica Crystal Caves – Chihuahua, Mexico
1000 ft down in the Naica silver mine these 50 ft long gypsum crystals, up to four feet in diameter, have been formed by hydrothermal fluids oozing up from even deeper underground.
4. The Glowworm Caves – Waitomo, New Zealand
The Waitomo caves are packed full of arachnocampa luminosa glowworms which live for about 1 year and glow brightest when they are in their larval stage.
5. Antelope Canyon – Page, Arizona
Found in Navajo land, these epic slot canyons were created over many years by flash floods.
6. Deadvlei – Namib-Naukluft Park, Namibia
Deep in the Namibian desert, the white clay of this dried up marsh is the perfect backdrop for dead camel thorn trees that are scorched black by the sun.
7. Lake Natron - Arusha, Tanzania
With temperatures around 60°C the water at Lake Natron is constantly evaporating, creating salt levels five times higher than the sea. This attracts cyanobacteria, tiny salt-loving creatures that give the lake its deep red colour.
8. Morning Glory Pool - Yellowstone National Park, USA
This pool gets its bright colouring from bacteria living in the water. It is named after the morning glory flower which it resembles and it is known to occasionally erupt as a geyser following nearby earthquakes.
9. Sossusvlei – Namib Desert, Namibia
With peaks around 300m – 400m high, Sossusvlei is home to some of the tallest sand dunes in the world.
10. Darvaza Gas Crater – Darvaza, Turkmenistan
Darvaza is a 70 meter wide crater filled with natural gas. It was created in 1971 after a mining accident by a Soviet drill team. The miners tried to get rid of the gas by igniting it but the flames are still burning today, nearly 45 years later.
11. The Wave - Coyote Buttes, Arizona
Formed from Navajo sandstone, these undulating troughs reach up to 62 ft wide and 118ft long and are formed by erosion from wind and rain.
12. Benagil Cave - Algarve, Portugal
Part of a series of caves cut by the sea into the limestone cliffs of the Algarve Coast, this cave is found about 150 meters to the east of Benagil Beach and features three arches, a collapsed roof and a hidden beach.
13. Turquoise Ice - Lake Baikal, Russia
Baikal is the world's largest freshwater lake containing approximately 20 per cent of the earth's water. This jewel like ice is formed when the super clear water freezes during the lake's -19 °C winters.
14. Lake Hillier – Recherche Archipelago, Australia
The bright pink of Lake Hillier owes its unusual colouring to the presence of dunaliella salina, microscopic organisms that love the lake's high salt content.
15. Reed Flute Cave – Guilin, China
Impressive limestone rock formations have made this cave a popular attraction for over 1200 years. The cave takes its name from plants growing near the entrance which can be turned into musical instruments.
These stunning light displays are caused by cosmic rays, solar wind and magnetospheric plasma entering the upper atmosphere. Commonly spotted near the earth's magnetic poles, they can even be seen from space:
17. Spotted Lake - Similkameen Valley, Canada
During the summer most of the water evaporates at this British Columbian lake, revealing mineral rich pools that vary in colour based on the minerals contained within them.
18. Giant Red Wood Trees
Giant redwood trees can be found around the world from the US, Canada and Europe, to Australia and New Zealand and can reach heights of up to 95m tall.
19. Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats - Daniel Campos Province, Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt flat, covering more than 4000 square miles. The area is so reflective and flat that it is used to calibrate satellite equipment in space.
20. Panjin Beach - Dawa County, China
Red Chenopodiaceae grass covers the coast around Panjin which is part of the world's largest wetland and reed marsh.
21. Blue Lagoon - Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Just off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, the Galapagos islands sit right over the Galapagos Hotspot, an area of volcanic activity that creates outlandish geology like the Blue Lagoon.
22. Son Doong Cave - Son Trach, Vietnam
Son Doong is the largest cave in the world. Reaching 200m high and 150 meters wide, this gigantic limestone cavern features tonnes of crazy geological features and even has its own jungle.
23. The Sea of Stars - Vaadhoo Island, Maldives
You can swim among the stars in the Maldives where phytoplankton create bioluminescent light in the water.
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