People travel far and wide to discover the world around us. While many travellers seek out well known historical sights, colourful cultures, and perfect beaches, there are amazing natural phenomena located on different continents which are less known of and visited. From colourful rivers and mountains to burning flames that never cease, there are some truly spectacular and unbelievable places to be seen around the world. Here are 10 natural phenomena you won’t believe exist on Earth.
1. The Pink Lake in Australia
Many people around the world marvel at a lake if it is crystal clear, turquoise, or even green, however Lake Hillier in Western Australia is truly something else. Often referred to as the Pink Lake, the vast lake appears to be bubble gum pink from above. The lake can be found on Middle Island, the largest island of the Recherche Archipelago, which is off the coast of Esperance. While the lake looks slightly less pink from ground level, it is still an incredible sight to see. What is perhaps most impressive about the lake is that just a few trees and a beach away, there lies the deep blue Southern Ocean. From above, the stark contrast of the ocean and the bubble gum pink lake are truly impressive. While scientists aren’t exactly sure why the lake is so pink, they speculate that the colour comes from a dye created by bacteria that thrives in the salt crusts.
2. The Bioluminescent Waves in the Maldives
Travellers have recently been flocking to the Maldives to swim in some of the clearest and stunning waters in the world. With gorgeous over the water villas and nothing but pure bliss, it’s no wonder the Maldives are one of the top travel destinations. Fortunately, there’s another reason to head to one of the many tiny islands belonging to the Maldives. Hundreds of thousands of plankton fish swim in the warm coastal waters of the islands and at nighttime, these fish are bioluminescent, meaning they appear to glow in the dark. In turn, the bioluminescent plankton look like a thousand glowing stars in the water. They often come in on the waves and light them up as well as surfacing along the beach and shoreline. Scientists believe that plankton light up when they are stressed and use the bioluminescence as a defence mechanism to disorientate, surprise, and misguide predators.
3. The Sailing Stones in Death Valley, California
Death Valley is one of the most unique and beautiful roads to drive through in the southern United States. While drivers often report becoming bored with the same desert views, upon closer inspection the desert has a lot more to offer than endless dusty landscapes. More accurately known as the sailing stones, the Death Valley is home to gliding rocks that move seamlessly in straight lines across the desert. Weighing up to 230 pounds, these stones can move themselves almost half a kilometre a year across the desert in a straight line. Scientists believe that the sailing stones are capable of moving due to the perfect weather conditions that allow them to do so. With the combination of winds, ice formations at nighttime, and thin wet clay surface conditions, the stones can continue to sail across the desert.
4. The Boiling Lake in Dominica
While most of us are aware of hot springs, the existence of a boiling lake is another phenomenon entirely. Located on the small but beautiful island of Dominica in the Caribbean, the Boiling Lake is a true sight to see. While it takes a bit of a hike to reach the lake, once there, it is possible to see why many people are willing to sweat to see this sight. Reaching temperatures of almost 200 degrees Fahrenheit, the lake is the second biggest boiling lake on the planet. Scientists believe the lake is a flooded fumarole, which is a large crack through which hot gases escape from the molten lava below. This makes sense considering how many volcanoes are found in this region of the world. The hot water is created from the natural bowl shaped basin of the lake which collects rain water and water from two nearby streams.
5. The Catatumbo Lightning in Venezuela
Venezuela is a land lesser explored in South America. Filled with sprawling cities, incredible beaches, mountain ranges, and waterfalls, Venezuela offers travellers the opportunity to experience a vast variety of sights. In the north of the country where the Catatumbo River meets the large Lake Maracaibo, a type of lightning derives it’s name from the river because it only takes place in this exact location, which is known to be one of the most electrical places on Earth. Hundreds of thousands of lightning strikes take place over the lake over the course of the year, with up to 280 strikes an hour, 260 nights a year, over 10 hours a day. Scientists believe this happens due to atmospheric pressure, winds blowing across the lake and the nearby swampy plains, and the effect the high mountain ridges of the three surrounding mountain ranges have on the air mass.
6. The Great Blue Hole in Belize
Belize is home to the longest coral reef in the world, which runs from Mexico down to Honduras. While it sounds absolutely terrifying, the Great Blue Hole is a true sight to witness, from above, beside, or even inside. The Great Blue Hole is a giant submarine sinkhole located off the mainland. The sinkhole is one of the best scuba diving sights in the world and is home to thousands of sharks, among many other fish, sea life, and corals. Many people prefer to view the Great Blue Hole from above, where you can gauge the size and depth of it. Scientists believe the sinkhole was originally a karst limestone cave that was created before the sea levels rose. Due to rising waters, the sinkhole has walls, stalactites, caves, and more.
7. Cano Cristales in Colombia
Colombia, much like it’s neighbour Venezuela, has a vast variety of landscapes that include deserts, jungles, forests, mountain ranges, sprawling cities, snow capped mountains, beaches, and plenty of rivers and waterfalls. One river that is unlike any other in the world is known as Cano Cristales, which translates to the Crystal Channel. Also known as the River of Five Colours, Cano Cristales is a rainbow coloured river that is home to red, blue, green, yellow, and black shades of colours. Scientists believe that the colourful river is due to a type of river weed that exists on the bottom of the river. This phenomenon only occurs from July to November and exists in different intensities, so consider yourself lucky if you see it in all its glory.
8. Pamukkale in Turkey
Pamukkale is a true geological phenomenon located far in land in Turkey. Consisting of brilliant white terraces flowing with soft and warm waters, Pamukkale has many travertine terraces that impress hundreds of visitors every year. For as far as the eye can see, the travertine terraces look completely out of place surrounded by relatively normal landscapes. Furthermore, Pamukkale is home to ancient Greek ruins including an amphitheatre, a necropolis, bath houses, tiny streets, and temples. Scientists believe the travertine terraces built up over many years from limestone deposits from the nearby hot springs. Its not hard to see why this phenomenal sight is one of the countries most visited spots.
9. The Rainbow Mountains in China
China is a vast country filled with spectacular landscapes. The rainbow mountains located in the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park in Gansu are filled with minerals, making them layered phenomenons of colour. The dense mountain rocks are packed together tightly with thick layers of minerals that are brightly coloured in shades of yellow, orange, red, magenta, blue, and maroon. These mountains are so incredible that the locals consider it their very own impressive Grand Canyon. Scientists believe that the rock formations were created over millions of years of different types of rocks, sandstone, and minerals layering over one another. Eventually, the continental plates smashed into one another, causing the layering to rise into mountains.
10. The Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia
Bolivia is growing on the travel radar for a few reasons and one of those reasons is it serving as the home of the world’s biggest salt flat. Covering over 10,500 square kilometres of land, the Uyuni Salt Flats create one of the most picturesque and surreal landscapes on the planet. As far as the eye can see, the flat salt flats reflect the sky onto the land, making it look like a massive optical illusion. Scientists believe that the salt flats were created over thousands of years as prehistoric lakes transformed and combined. The concentration of salt and minerals in the lakes, combined with the high altitude, left behind a solid layer of salt. The salt flats are, as their name suggests, incredibly flat, making it one of the most incredible places to watch the sun set.