5 Geological Wonders You Didn't Know About
1. Pamukkale (Turkey)
In Turkish the name literally means Cotton Castle and it is easy to see why it was given that name. Yet this geological wonder is also the site of the ancient city of Hierapolis and over the centuries the two have seemed to come together, almost merged into one. In fact some of the old tombs in the city's necropolis have become part of landscape. The site itself is a series of travertines and hot springs. The travertines here have a concentric appearance and are almost sheer white giving the area an ethereal appearance. The hot springs precipitate calcium carbonate at their mouths and produce the strange almost organic looking structures.
2. Ice Towers of Mount Erebus (Antarctica)
Mt. Erebus is one of the largest active volcanoes on Earth. It reaches nearly 4 km above sea level, and is renowned in volcanological circles for its persistently active lava lake, which is sited in the summit crater. The hot volcanic gas steaming from Erebus does more than fuel for the lava lake. Hot gasses traveling up through cracks and fractures in the volcanic rocks surrounding the Erebus summit have created an intricate system of ice caves all over the mountain.
3. Danxia Landform (China)
This unique geological phenomenon, known as a 'Danxia Landform', can be seen in several places in China. This example is located in Zhangye, Gansu Province. Danxia, which means "rosy cloud", is a special landform formed from reddish sandstone that has been eroded over time into a series of mountains surrounded by curvaceous cliffs and many unusual rock formations.
4. Enchanted Well - Chapada Diamantina National Park (Brazil)
Poço Encantado, or Enchanted Well, is located in the Chapada Diamantina National Park in Bahia state, approximately 400 kilometres inland from Salvador, the capital city of Bahia. This giant sunken pool is 120 feet deep and the water is so transparent the rocks and ancient tree trunks are visible on the bottom. When the sun is just right, light comes through a crevice and creates a blue reflection on the water. Access to this pond is highly controlled for environmental protection of its rare and delicate ecosystem.
5. Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia)
The Salar is one of the iconic images of Bolivia, a massive salt desert in the middle of the Altiplano. It is an expansive, virtually flat desert that reflects the sun in such a way as to create a mirror effect with the sky. There are several lakes in the desert with strange colours from the mineral deposits in the region.
Some 40,000 years ago, the area was part of Lake Minchin, a giant prehistoric lake. When the lake dried, it left behind two modern lakes, Poopó Lake and Uru Uru Lake, and two major salt deserts, Salar de Coipasa and the larger Uyuni. Uyuni is roughly 25 times the size of the Bonneville Salt Flats in the United States. It is estimated to contain 10 billion tons of salt, from which less than 25,000 tons is extracted annually.