Iceland is probably the best place to find many beautiful basalt columns. At least where the distance between them is relatively short. The basalt column is a magnificent rock formation that has inspired artists and designers and has sometimes been elevated to a divine level as was the case with our famous church Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavík.
Across the arid grasslands of the Namib Desert lies an eerie sight: millions of circular patches of land void of plants, each between 2m and 15m in diameter, arranged in a honeycomb-like pattern across 2,500km of land. These disks of bare soil, known as fairy circles, pockmark the landscape in Namibia, as if giant moths ate through the vast carpets of grassland.
These ice spikes, called penitentes, form in high altitudes, where sunlight turns ice directly into water vapor, rather than melting it to water. Sun beams vaporize small dimples in the snow's surface. Then, the uneven surface directs sun into the dips and away from the peaks, exacerbating the trend. Penitentes can grow as tall as 15 feet.
The Tianzi Mountain is found in Zhangjiajie City which is in turn located in the Hunan Province, close to the Suoxi Valley, in China. More specifically, the Tianzi Mountain is situated in the northwestern parts of Wulinyuan Scenic Area which is in Wulingyuan District. The district is part of the larger Zhangjiajie City. The mountain range covers an area of around 21 square miles and a length of around 25 miles. The main peak of the mountain range rises an incredible 4,142 feet above sea level. The second highest peak, by comparison, has a measly height of 1,817 feet.
Yellowstone National Park’s 2 million acres are home to an incomparable combination of natural beauty, rugged wilderness, majestic peaks and abundant wildlife, as well as the world’s largest concentration of geysers and thermal features. The iconic spots—Old Faithful, Lower Falls and Yellowstone Lake—may be familiar from paintings and photographs, but seeing them in person is a humbling, enthralling experience that visitors can enjoy year-round.
The topography of Ankarana is characterised by limestone emerging from a basaltic plain 50m above sea level, forming the tsingy (sharp limestone karst pinnacles). Numerous underground caves and canyons traverse the massif. Four major rivers flow through the reserve: Besaboba eastward, Ankarana from the north, Antenan'Ankarana and Mananjeba from the south. The first three are underground rivers whose specific watercourses still remain unknown.
Halong Bay with a total area of 1553 square km includes 1969 islands and islets (989 islands and islets named and 980 without name). World Heritage areas are recognized cover an area of 434 square km including 775 islands look like a triangle with three vertices with Dau Go Island (west), Ba Ham Lake (south) and Cong Tay island (east).
Bryce Canyon, which despite its name, is not a canyon, but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Bryce is distinctive due to geological structures called hoodoos, formed by frost weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange, and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views for park visitors. Bryce Canyon National Park is much smaller, and sits at a much higher elevation than nearby Zion National Park. The rim at Bryce varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet (2,400 to 2,700 m).
The longest and largest reef complex in the world, the Great Barrier Reef extends in roughly a northwest-southeast direction for more than 1,250 miles (2,000 km), at an offshore distance ranging from 10 to 100 miles (16 to 160 km), and has an area of some 135,000 square miles (350,000 square km).
Hanging 2,719 meters above sea level, ‘Inca Bridge’ is a fantastic natural bridge that shines in between the Andes Mountains. The bridge is located above the Cuevas River, and there are two stories that tell how it was formed: a poetic Inca tale and a more scientific geological explanation. The Inca legend tells how a famous Inca heir was terribly ill and the gods advised him that he could only be cured by drinking from the magical medicinal water at the end of the Inca Trail. They walked all the way from Peru, and when they finally got to the site they realized that they had to cross to the other side to access the water. They made a ‘human bridge’ to save the heir’s life, however the helpful Inca people were sadly petrified forever as they formed the ‘Inca Bridge’.
Sawyer Glacier is an active tidewater glacier, which means it "calves" or breaks off. Pieces of ice anywhere from the size of a small car to a cruise ship fall off the face of the glacier and hit the water with a thunderous roar. No matter how many times you visit Sawyer Glacier, it is always a thrill to see a calving event. The water at the end of the fjord is nearly 600 feet deep and when an underwater calving takes place, the ice remains intact, giving us Alaska's largest icebergs. In other glacier areas, the calved ice generally crumbles. Underwater calvings surface like giant submarines that rise over 250 feet and then settle into the water like large, blue ships.
Patagonia is a region encompassing the vast southernmost tip of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile, with the Andes Mountains as its dividing line. The Argentine side features arid steppes, grasslands and deserts, while the Chilean has glacial fjords and temperate rainforest. Argentina’s famed RN-40 highway passes the pinnacles of Monte Fitz Roy and Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park.
The Aldeyjarfoss waterfall is situated in the Highlands of Iceland at the northern part of the Sprengisandur Highland Road. The river Skjálfandafljót drops here from a height of 20m. The basalt belongs to a lava field called Frambruni or Suðurárhraun, hraun being the Icelandic word for lava.
The Quebrada de Humahuaca is a valley that follows the Rió Grande for 155 km (96 miles) between Jujuy and beyond the town of Humahuaca in Argentina’s far northwest. Recognised by UNESCO for its 10,000-year-old history as a pre-Incan trading route and for the prehistoric remains of hunter-gatherer and other communities sprinkled around the area, it’s nonetheless the astounding multi-coloured landscape for which it is most revered by travellers.
This alien looking geyser on the edge of Black Rock Desert is actually human-made. But it wasn’t put there on purpose. The Fly Ranch property is located in Nevada’s Hualapai Geothermal Flats, an area known for its unique geothermal pools. There are three geysers on the property. The first, known as The Wizard, was created more than 100 years ago, during an effort to make the desert usable for farming. While drilling a well, workers hit geothermal water that was about 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Because the water was not suitable for agricultural use, this geyser was left alone. A 10-12 foot calcium carbonate cone formed as a result of the water’s mineral content.
In Antartica, there are the famous Blood Falls—a blood-red waterfall pouring out of the Taylor Glacier in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. Scientists and geologists first thought the red color is because of algae, according to Atlas Obscura. Research by the University of Alaska Fairbanks, however, found the red color is thanks to oxidized iron in the brine saltwater. We see the falls thanks to a fissure allowing the water to flow from the small, trapped body.
The Eye of the Sahara, also known as the Richat Structure, is a geologic dome containing rocks that predate the appearance of life on Earth. The Eye resembles a blue bullseye and is located in Western Sahara. It is visible from space and has been used as a visual landmark by astronauts. Geologists believe that the Eye's formation began when the supercontinent Pangaea started to pull apart.
The Mù Cang Chai Rice Terrace Fields stretch across 2,200 hectares of the mountainside as narrow layers of terraces ranging from between 1m and 1.5m wide. Around 500 hectares of these terraces belong to three communes such as La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha and Ze Xu Phinh.
Encompassing over 1.25 million acres, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area offers unparalleled opportunities for water-based & backcountry recreation. The recreation area stretches for hundreds of miles from Lees Ferry in Arizona to the Orange Cliffs of southern Utah, encompassing scenic vistas, geologic wonders, and a vast panorama of human history.
The Chocolate Hills are a geological formation in the Bohol province of the Philippines. There are at least 1,260 hills but there may be as many as 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres (20 sq mi). They are covered in green grass that turns brown during the dry season, hence the name.
Travertine, forms as a result of calcium carbonate precipitation from geothermal waters, according to the University of Waikato. The travertine builds up forming terraces over time. When hot water full of carbon dioxide flows through limestone, it dissolves. It carries calcium carbonate to the surface of the travertine, per Atlas Obscura. Still, more research shows there might be other reasons for their formation. Bacteria in the water could catalyze the minerals, forming the terraces, according to Science Magazine.
The Dallol volcano, or rather the Dallol hydrothermal field is located in a remote part of the northern Danakil Depression in NE Ethiopia. It is the lowest known sub-aerial volcanic area in the world. Dallol is one of the world's most spectacular landscape: a vast area of uplifted thick salt deposits affected by intense fumarolic activity, probably caused by an active volcanic system beneath several kilometers of evaporation salt deposits. Dallol is said to be the hottest place on the planet, with average annual temperatures well above 30 deg C.
In Arizona’s Lake Powell area lies Antelope Canyon, one of the most photographed slot canyons in the United States. Formed by water rushing through the rock over the course of millions of years, this southwestern natural wonder has two parts that are often mixed up—the deep yet narrow Upper Antelope Canyon (also known as Spiral Rock Arches) and the Lower Antelope Canyon (Hasdeztwazi), both of which are set on Navajo land as part of the Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park.
The pinnacles in Australia's Nambung National Park are primarily limestone outcroppings richly endowed with such marine organisms as corals and mollusks. During the early Pleistocene, the sea washed sand, coral, microorganisms, etc. onto the Pinnacles Desert, which over tens of thousands of years formed limestone. Eventually, wind and rain eroded all but the most resistant rock, leaving behind these remnant pillars. It should be pointed out that the exact manner of their formations is still being debated. The tallest pinnacles here are about 10 ft (3 m) in height.
Socotra is a four islands archipelago in Indian Ocean. The unusual island belongs to Yemen. It is of continental origin and is the most isolated place in the world of that kind. It is famous for its biodiversity. Due to isolation and hot climate, plenty of endemic flora is found in Socotra. 307 out of the 825 plant species are indicated to be endemic (found only here).
Originally dunes in Arizona from more than 190 million years ago, “The Wave” includes intersecting throughs of sandstone turned to rock. According to Atlas Obscura, the dunes form vertically and horizontally, and slow erosion thanks to wind and rain over time reveals their wave-like look. Sandstone waves are a must for avid hikers, especially in the American Southwest.
Crater Lake National Park is an American national park located in southern Oregon. Established in 1902, Crater Lake is the fifth-oldest national park in the United States and the only national park in Oregon. The park encompasses the caldera of Crater Lake, a remnant of Mount Mazama, a destroyed volcano, and the surrounding hills and forests. The lake is 1,949 feet (594 m) deep at its deepest point, which makes it the deepest lake in the United States, the second-deepest in North America and the ninth-deepest in the world.
This vast white landscape is covered in a blanket of stunning ice sculptures which are creations of nature. The naturally formed ice blocks, named ice hummocks, have been created due to the extreme weather conditions. Freezing temperatures and fierce winds causes fresh ice and ice floes to move, resulting in these picturesque blocks. Also known as 'Ice Hummocks' - These ice hummocks, created through a combination of extreme winds and cold temperatures, can reach a height of 15m (50ft).
The fantastical 'fairy chimneys' found in central Turkey's historic Cappadocia region were formed by a collision of the natural and the man-made. The landforms were created when volcanoes deposited mounds of soft, porous rock called tuff, which was later covered with hard basalt. In the 10th century (though possibly starting up to 5,000 years ago) humans excavated the tuff to create caves and catacombs that could fit thousands of dwellers. Through not only the astonishing ruins but the many 'cave hotels' hewn into rock in the city of Göreme, the memory of those ingenious city planners lives on.
Goðafoss Waterfall is nicknamed the “Waterfall of the Gods.” Some believe that the name comes from the fact that the waterfall is god-like in beauty. Goðafoss is one of Iceland’s true pearls and one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland. Its fed by the river Skjálfandafljót which runs in a 7000-year-old lava field from the Trölladyngja volcano. The waterfall flows over a 30-meter (98 ft.) wide horseshoe-shaped rock that rises in the center separating the waterfall in two. One section is about 9 m. (30 ft.) and the second is 17-meters (55 ft.) high.
The formation of the mountain began 55 million years ago. When the flat sandstones collide and uplifted the mountains. With wind and other natural events in time, the overlying layers went away, and the mineralogy and chemistry of the mountain began to shape today’s form of the mountains, also the colors.
Also the underground waters have a role while creating the colors. The water’s move through the sandstones revealed the minerals between the grains and cemented them. The first color that was occurred was red. The iron oxide coating and cementation between the sandstones made the red color. Also rains helped it to happen.
After red colored stones, brown, yellow and black stones started to occur just like the same process. With oxidized limonite, goethite, magnetite, iron sulfide, sulfur and more chemical reactions created other colors
The hidden secret of the Indian Ocean - Laamu atoll or Haddumathi is formed by the largest islands in the Maldives archipelago, three of which by local standards can be considered gigantic. Of the 82 islands on the atoll, only 12 south-eastern parts are inhabited. It is mostly rimmed by barrier reefs, the broadest of which are topped by islands. There are many islands along its eastern and southern boundaries.
The park's white sand dunes and shimmering lagoons sprawl across 580 square miles of the northern Atlantic coast, near the Amazon Basin. two rivers run through the national park, which deposit sediment as they flow toward the Atlantic Ocean. It is this sediment that actually creates the majestic dunes that give Lençóis Maranhenses National Park its name, however the rivers are not soley responsible. During the region's dry season, winds from the Atlantic push inland, picking up the sand and tossing it into rolling dunes. Some of the pools — which come in varying shades of green, blue, and black – can be several feet deep. Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Bonita are two of the biggest lagoons in the park.
These termites build some of the most spectacular of all termite mounds, reminiscent of the elaborate architecture of medieval cathedrals. A mound lives from 50 to a hundred years and it is thought that a single queen lives for the entire life of the mound. The mound provides a perfect home for the termite which requires the right level of warmth and humidity. The ultimate in sustainable climate control!
Situated in the Canaima National Park of Venezuela, Mount Roraima forms the border between Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana. Mount Roraima is the highest tepuy which is Spanish name for Table Mountain, on the triple border of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana and lies on the Guiana Shield towards the south-eastern corner of Venezuela’s’ 30,000 square km Canaima National Park forming one of the highest peak of Guyana’s Highland Range.
The Namib desert spans over 95,000km² of coastline in Namibia and Angola. Its huge sand dunes are among the highest dunes in the world, and the UNESCO declared it “World Heritage” in 2013. Most well known are the dunes in Sossusvlei, that reach heights of more than 350 meters. With their red color, they stand in sharp contrast to the yellow-white vleis. A vlei is a shallow, often only seasonally filled lake. When the water vanishes, salt or clay pans remain – such as in Sossusvlei in Namibia.