It’s in the wondrous nature of our planet to present to us humans places in every wilderness that cast a spell on us with their seemingly impossible phenomena – and we often find ourselves asking how it’s even possible for them to exist in the first place.
For the majority of them there’s a logical explanation behind it, but that doesn’t change the fact that these places will leave you speechless just by looking at them. They’re often phenomena that have developed over the course of thousands of years, but human intervention (both accidental and deliberate) has also led Mother Nature so show sides of her we don’t often see. I’m going to show you some really astonishing places created by nature that I’d love to see for myself! So, be ready for an exciting look at these astounding places that Planet Earth has to offer!
The most astonishing natural phenomena in the world
Rainbow Mountains | Sailing Stones | Red Beach | Fly Geyser | Door to Hell | Lake Hillier
Rainbow Mountains in Zhangye Danxia National Park
No, these colourful mountains aren’t some kind of dream, and your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you either – they’re completely real and were created through natural processes! They’re located in north-west China, or to be more precise in the Zhangye Danxia Geopark. The mountains are made up of red sandstone and are over 24 million years old.
The extraordinary colours are a result of erosion and different minerals being deposited over the years, the result looking completely unnatural. A good first example of how nature can create far crazier things than humans, even if you have to wait a while to see it.
Sailing Stones in Death Valley
This phenomenon over at the Racetrack in the Death Valley National Park, USA, is a mysterious one. Boulders that weigh several hundred kilograms seem to cross the desert all by themselves, leaving behind straight trails that stretch for metres on end. The phenomenon was able to be observed directly by people for the first time last year as it used to mostly happen some distance away from the marked trails.
The solution to the riddle was found in 2014 – wafer-thin sheets of ice form underneath the boulders, especially during the winter months. Combined with the gusts of wind, the boulders are then able to move across the area. They’re not slow either, as rocks have been recorded moving 5 metres per minute – not bad for a seemingly unmovable boulder!
Red Beach in Liaohe Delta
We probably always associate the word ‘beach’ with sand, sand and even more sand, and eventually also maybe cliffs and pebbles, but definitely not the colour red (apart from sunburns, I mean). However, 30km away from the Chinese city of Panjin in the Liaohe Delta is a beach that’s exactly that – red. The reason behind it all is a plant called seablite. It’s completely covered the ground here and makes for some impressive colour as far as the eye can see.
The phenomenon is also due to the fact that the marshes offer the perfect conditions for the plant, which transforms from green to a vibrant red in the late summer and turns the beach into something very special indeed. To protect this unique place, the beach is for the most part a nature reserve and tourists are only allowed in a small area.
Fly Geyser in Nevada
I never would’ve thought that humans could be accidentally responsible for some proper natural phenomena, which makes Fly Geyser in the state of Nevada even more cooler when you take the story of its origin into consideration. The geyser is namely the consequence of drilling gone wrong during a search for geothermal energy in 1964. Since the hole wasn’t properly sealed afterwards, minerals came to the surface and were continued to be deposited there.
Through this, a 1.50 metre-high ‘mountain’ was created, but its appearance is much more impressive than its size due to the unnatural colours. Water still comes out of it too, which means that it’s still growing even now! Equally as impressive is the terraced landscape and the complete ecosystem that was formed by the water. Human error can have good effects after all!
Door to Hell in Turkmenistan
The Door to Hell in the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan is another phenomenon created by mistake – drilling is to ‘blame’ here too! In 1971 geologists happened to stumble upon an underground cave that was filled with natural gas. However, as the ground beneath the drilling platform collapsed, creating a hole 70 metres wide, a dilemma arose.
The researchers wanted to stop the environmentally damaging gasses from being released, and so came up with the quite logical idea to burn it so the gases couldn’t escape. No sooner said than done – but there was a catch: the researches had calculated that the fire would go out after a few days. But it turned out to be completely wrong: the hole is still on fire an incredible 44 years after the incident and still gently flares up. Locals call the crater the ‘Door to Hell’.
Lake Hillier in Australia
Last but not least we’ll be taking a look at Middle Island in the Recherche Archipelago off the south-west coast of Australia – the deep blue water of the Pacific, white sandy beaches, green forests and…wait a sec, what is that? A horde of flamingos? A huge patch of flowers? A giant chunk of candy floss? Nope, what you’re actually seeing here is a pink lake! This is Lake Hillier, discovered in 1802 by Matthew Flinders. The lake isn’t just impressive thanks to its huge dimensions (it’s roughly 600 metres long and no more than 250 metres wide). The special thing about it is in fact the unique colour of the water.
It’s not an optical illusion unlike other lakes, which only reveal their colours in certain conditions. If you were to fill a glass with water from the lake it’ll be clearly pink. Of course there’s the big question of “Why?”, but there’s no real answer that can be verified just yet. It’s assumed that the nutrient levels as well as certain bacteria and algae are the cause for this extraordinary colour. It’s really absurd, and I think the contrast to the blue sea water is really astonishing – just take a look for yourself!
It’s simply unbelievable what nature can conjure up, isn’t it? Have you seen any of these natural wonders for yourself before?