joi, 28 aprilie 2011

Amazing and Unbelievable Phenomens on the Earth

7 Amazing Holes in the Earth

posted in: Strange posted by: Jennifer Gregory on June 17, 2008 14 Comments
When we think of holes, most of us think of digging a hole to plant a flower, drilling a hole to finish a construction project, or even hitting a hole in one at the next golf outing. There are places in the world, however, that give the word ?hole? a whole new meaning. These holes are so large it would be hard to believe they were real if you weren?t able to see them.

Kimberley Big Hole, South Africa
Kimberley Big Hole
Kimberly Big Hole, located in South Africa, was a diamond mine over 1,097 meters deep. The mine was closed in 1914 but was later reopened as a tourist attraction. The site is now a major tourist attraction, featuring a bar, small hotel, shops, and eateries – all in the same area that these things would have been located while the mine was active. Workers will be dressed in period garb and visitors will have the opportunity to participate in a simulation complete with dynamite blasts and dusty explosions ? all designed to give visitors a feel for what it was like living in mine town.
Glory Hole at Monticello Dam, California
Glory Hole at Monticello Dam
The Glory Hole at Monticello Dam is a man made hole designed to help drain water from the reservoir. The sheer size of the hole allows it to drain over 14,440 cubic feet of water every second ? yes, that?s every second! Water that is drained through the hole is shot out at the bottom of the dam. Rumors claim that a woman jumped down the hole thinking she would come out the other end but never lived to tell the tale ? I?ve seen no proof, so take that story or leave it.
Bingham Canyon Mine, Utah
Bingham Canyon Mine
Bingham Canyon Mine, located in Utah, is still an active mine and is considered to be one of the world?s most productive. The canyon was originally discovered in 1850 and mining began in 1863, at which point it became apparent how valuable the site actually is. The mine produces millions of ounces s of valuable metals, including copper, gold, silver, and molybdenum each year. The Rio Tinto, the owner, is currently committed to a project that will ensure the mine stays open until at least 2013.
Great Blue Hole, Belize
Great Blue Hole
The Great Blue Hole in Belize is located in the center of Lighthouse Reef. The hole itself is a limestone sinkhole. It measures 300 feet across and is well over 400 feet deep. The depth of the water in the hole is why the ?blue hole? appears such a dark color when seen from above. The Great Blue Hole is a very popular tourist attraction for divers who want to explore the stalactites and limestone structures that begin to form around the insides of the hole at approximately 110 feet deep. Don?t forget ? this 400 foot hole used to be above the surface of the ocean!
Mirny Diamond Mine, Siberia
Mirny Diamond Mine
The Mirny Diamond Mine is located in Eastern Siberia near a small town known as Mirna. The mine itself is over 525 meters deep and more than 125 kilometers in diameter. The hole is so wide and so deep it is believed to cause a suction effect, which has caused several aircraft accidents in the area. The Mirny Diamond Mine is now considered a no fly zone!
Diavik Mine, Canada
Diavik Mine
The Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada is one of the most amazing diamond mines in the world. It is believed that within the mind are over 90 million carats worth of rough diamonds. They’re contained within three main kimberlite pipes, otherwise known as ore deposits. While the pipes at this mine are considered small, the quality of the diamonds contained within the pipes is above average. The mine is so large, in fact, the owners have built their own private airport at the site. Mining began at the site in 2003 and is expected to continue for at least 15-20 years, if not longer.
Sinkhole in Guatamela
Sinkhole in Guatemala
In February of 2007, a sinkhole in Guatamela collapsed, killing two children as their home, and dozens of others, were swallowed into the pit. The blame for this astoundingly large hole was placed on a ruptured sewer pipe.
The earth is capable of producing plenty of wonderful and natural anomalies. Take a look around and, if you?re in the area, stop by to see one of these incredible sites.
Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (Flickr)
10 Unbelievable Natural Phenomena
posted in: World  |  posted by: Jennifer Gregory on June 4, 2008  |  3 Comments
The world is filled with amazing natural phenomena that are certainly worth visiting when possible. Here is a look at ten of the most amazing to add to your list of ?must see? natural attractions.

1. Moving Rocks ? California

The Moving Rocks, which are located at the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley, have perplexed researchers for years. When you visit the area, you will notice that there are trails leading to many of the pebbles and boulders in the area. Scientists believe the movement is caused by a combination of water and changes in temperature that make it possible for the wind to actually blow the large rocks.
Moving Rocks of Racetrack Playa in Death Valley

2. Black Sun ? Denmark

The Black Sun can be witnessed during the springtime in Denmark. It occurs about a half hour prior to sunset and occurs when over one million European starlings block out the sun as they migrate from the south.

3. Rain of Fishes ? Honduras

Every year, sometime between May and July, a dark cloud fills the sky. This is then followed by thunder, lightning and strong wings. After heavy rain falls for 2 to 3 hours, hundreds of living fish can be found coating the ground.

4. Catatumbo Lightning ? Venezuela

Catatumbo Lightning
Over marshlands in Venezuela, a seemingly never ending storm takes place 140 to 160 nights out of the year. The storm lasts 10 hours each night and experiences up to 280 lightning strikes per hour. To make it even more interesting, the flashes of lightning run from cloud to cloud and result in an arc that is over five kilometers high. In all, approximately 1,176,000 electrical discharges take place there each year.

5. Climbing Goats ? Morocco

A strange site can be seen when visiting Morocco ? literally dozens of goats perched up in trees. The goats are generally found in the Argan tree, as they enjoy eating the fruit from the tree. Farmers also follow these goats in order to collect the argan seeds after the goats spit them out or excrete them. The seeds are then ground up to make oil, which is used in cosmetics and in cooking.
Climbing Goats in Argan Tree in Morocco

6. Cave of Crystals ? Mexico

The Cave of Crystals is located in a mine in Chihuahua Mexico, which is where the largest known crystals can be found. Most of the crystals are made mostly from Gypsum.

Cave of Crystals in Chihuahua, Mexico

7. Fire Rainbow ? Idaho

The Fire Rainbow, which is more scientifically known as a circumhorizon arc, only appears when the sun is more than 58 degrees above the horizon. As light passes through the cirrus clouds and leaves through the bottom faces of the hexagonal plate crystals in the clouds, the light is refracted and separated. If everything aligns properly, the result is a magnificent rainbow-like formation in the sky.
Fire Rainbow

8. Stone Forest ? China

The Stone Forest consists of a number of large stones made from limestone, each of which was formed when water percolated the surface of the ground and caused erosion to occur. As a result, large stone pillars were formed.
The Stone Forest

9. Eye of the Sahara ? Mauritania

The Eye of the Sahara is a magnificent landform located in the southwestern area of the Sahara desert. Geologists originally thought the formation was crated when a meteorite hit the earth, but now believe it was caused by erosion. Still, the massive 30 mile diameter and the fact that it has a circular shape makes the formation quite a mystery.
Eye of the Sahara

10. The Curtain of Fire ? Hawaii

The Curtain of Fire, which is located on Mount Kilauea?s Eastern Rift, is a wall of magma that measures 100 to 160 feet high.
Curtain of Fire at Mount Kilauea

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
 Incredible Striped Icebergs
posted in: Strange  |  posted by: Jennifer Gregory on June 16, 2008  |  4 Comments
Icebergs themselves are amazing natural creations. They are formed when snow falls on the already icy land on the shores of the Antarctic continent. The snow never melts and eventually there is so much it begins to pack down and form ice. That ice eventually begins sliding into the sea ? thus, an iceberg is born. Most icebergs display only 10% of their total mass above water while the other 90% remains beneath the surface. It takes hundreds upon thousands of years for an iceberg to form to the sizes we usually see pictured today.
Striped Icebergs

By now you have probably seen pictures of the amazing striped icebergs floating around the Internet. At first glance, one might think that these phenomenal visions are merely the creation of an overzealous student with a knack for using Photoshop, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Some quick research revealed that the rumors were actually true. Striped icebergs had actually been seen and documented, mostly appearing in the waters south of the equator in the Antarctic. Striped icebergs have been spotted in a variety of colors, including brown, black, yellow, and blue. The process by which the stripes are formed is almost as fascinating as the idea of them forming to start with.
Striped Ice
The first striped icebergs were photographed by a sailor known as Oyvind Tangen. He was a researcher on a ship touring the waters over 600 miles north of the Antarctic. He and the rest of his crew went on to discover a myriad of these amazing sites floating throughout the ocean waters.
Blue striped iceberg
The British Antarctic Survey describes the creation of stripes on an iceberg. In colder areas like the Antarctic, ice crystals begin to form under the surface of the water. Those crystals then attempt to rise to the surface of the water but instead hit the bottoms of the shelves known as icebergs. They adhere to the ice shelves and begin to form new layers. Anything that was between the ice crystal and ice shelf at the time the crystals rise and adhere becomes trapped between the new and old ice layers.
Iceberg with Stripe
As aquatic wildlife evolves, the deceased animals eventually disintegrate and break into smaller pieces of material. These pieces contribute to some of the blue and green striped icebergs that have been documented. Blue stripes may be formed when water fills cracks in the iceberg and refreezes quickly without air bubbles. Green stripes are also caused by algae particles that become stuck between the ice particles and the ice shelf..
Other icebergs have presented with black, brown, and yellow stripes. If a sheet of ice slides towards the ocean waters it will pick up dirt and particles from the ground. Those particles stick to the ice and are sealed between the new layers of ice to form their own colorful stripes.
Striped Iceberg
Regardless of how the stripes are formed, these icebergs are viewed with wonder and awe by anyone who has the fortunate experience of coming across one. Let?s hope these amazing natural wonders don?t become the next victim of global warming.
See more photos of Antarctic striped icebergs.
Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
 Spectacular Rock Formations Around the World
posted in: Strange  |  posted by: Jennifer Gregory on October 10, 2008  |  28 Comments

Many of us immediately recall memories of mountains and hillside when we look back upon family vacations and scenic landscape. We sometimes forget, however, the incredible impact that nature has had on the planet over time. The natural erosion of the earth, caused by winds and harsh weathers, has resulted in the creation of some of the most incredible rock formations on the globe.
The next time you plan a vacation, include one or two of these breathtaking destinations on your list of things to see. These spectacular rock formations will leave you ready to hunt for more.

Delicate Arch – Utah

Delicate Arch
Delicate Arch can be found in Arches National Park in the Utah in the United States. The arch stands alone at a height of 52 feet and is considered one of Utah’s most important landmarks. In 2002, the Olympic torch passed through this arch to mark the beginning of the winter games.

Karlu Karlu – Australia

Karlu Karlu
Also known as the Devil’s Marbles, Karlu Karlu consists of a series of rounded boulders that can be found in Wauchope, Australia. Wauchope is still the home to several Aborigine tribes, who consider the site of the rock formations to be an important religious site. The myth is that the boulders are the eggs left behind by the rainbow serpent.

The Pinnacles – Australia

Pinnacles Desert Australia
Image credit: huwp
In Namburg National Park, found in Western Australia, you’ll come across The Pinnacles. These incredible peaks are the result of limestone formations that have evolved over thousands of years. Seashells eventually broke down into sands rich with limestone and eventually found their way into the mainland where, after being rained upon and packed into the ground, they formed the dunes we see today.

The Wave – Arizona

The Wave
If you’re willing to embark on a moderate hike you’ll be astounded by The Wave formation in Coyote Buttes, Arizona. The heat in Arizona dictates an early morning hike, but you’ll have to plan in advance. Only 20 permits allowing access to the area are issued each day. Ten of those can be reserved in advance and the other 10 are issued via a lottery system daily.

Brimham Rock – England

Brimham Rocks
Brimham Rock is an astounding rock formation found just inside of Brimham Moor in North Yorkshire. The formation stands over 300 meters high and is a very popular tourist attraction. Brimham Rock itself stands amongst a number of other odd rock formations, all of which are part of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The rocks, which are spread out over 50 acres, take on a number of incredible shapes, including some that resemble animals, plant life, and a few that hint at the existence of the druids.

James Bond Island – Thailand

James Bond Island
James Bond Island can be found in Ao Phang-Nga National Park in Thailand. The needle-shaped limestone formation was nicknamed James Bond Island because it was featured in a Bond flick back in the mid-1970’s. Visits to the island are conducted by guided tour, but you’d better bring your own informational guidebook as the signs explaining the creation of the island aren’t written in any form of legible English.

Devil’s Tower – Wyoming

Devil\'s Tower
The formation known as Devil’s Tower can be found in Wyoming. Also known as Bear Tower, the formation is actually the neck of a volcano, standing over 1,200 feet above the surface. Believe it or not, at one point it was not possible to see Devil’s Tower, but years of erosion slowly revealed the monstrosity, which is now considered a national monument.

Goreme Valley Fairy Chimneys – Turkey

Goreme Valley
The Goreme Valley Fairy Chimneys can be found in Cappadocia, Turkey. They are the result of volcanic eruptions that occurred thousands of years previous to today. The tops are made of a hard rock, while the actual pillars were formed from a softer rock. It is said that small houses have been carved into the pillars, which remain an incredibly popular tourist attraction to this day.

Perce Rock – Canada

Perce Rock
Perce Rock, in Canada, is considered to be amongst the largest natural arch formed from rock in the world. Perce Rock, which translates to “pierced rock,” is located in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. It stands over 1,400 feet long and almost 300 feet high.

The Giant’s Causeway – Northern Ireland

Giant\'s Causeway
The Giant’s Causeway is located in Northern Island and is comprised of a series of over 40,000 columns made of basalt. Each column is connected and the formation is believed to be a result of volcanic ash. Believe it or not, when this formation was first discovered, scientists argued as to how it was formed. Some thought it was natural, others thought it was manmade – and the mythical though that perhaps it had been created by a giant!
Each of these incredible formations is a sight to behold. No matter when you visit, or which one you choose to see, you’re guaranteed the experience of a lifetime. Enjoy!
Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

10 quietest places on Earth
posted in: Guides  |  posted by: Jennifer Gregory on January 4, 2009  |  14 Comments
Our technologically enhanced world may be quicker and smarter, but it’s one other thing as well – it’s louder. No matter where you go you’re sure to be greeted by the sounds of radios, construction, and the never ending rings of your neighbor’s cell phone.
While complete and utter silence might be just as bad, it’s important to find time to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and listen to more natural sounds. Things like the sound of your own breath or your heart beating – things you probably haven’t heard in ages over the constant dull roar created by the rest of the universe. We’ve compiled a list of some of the quietest places in the world. Hopefully you’ll have a chance to visit one or two of them soon.

The Hoh ValleyWashington

The Hoh Valley
In Washington State you’ll find the rainforests that make up Olympic National Park. This park is known for being the largest area in the United States without roads, which does a lot to keep it quiet to begin with. There’s a special initiative, though, known as the Square Inch Project.
The Hoh Valley
They believe that keeping one square inch of space quiet (ie. no human sound) will cause the lack of sound to radiate over thousands of acres. They may be on to something here.

The Grand CanyonArizona

The Grand Canyon
When we think of the Grand Canyon we think of a touristy trek through state parks. Fortunately, there are some box canyons down there that are quieter than the sound created by your last breath.
The Grand Canyon
The sound of the Colorado River running through the main canyon is the only other audible sound, and we’re willing to accept that as well.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Big Island, Hawaii

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
The area surrounding the volcanoes on Big Island is virtually silent. That is, until the helicopters start flying overhead, but that’s a battle the Park Service in Hawaii will continue to battle. As you explore the volcanoes themselves the only sounds you’ll hear are those created by the earth itself as the lava rumbles beneath the surface.

Cape CodMassachusetts

Cape Cod
Cape Cod may not seem like a quiet place to the uninitiated. After all, thousands of people visit each summer. Take an early morning walk along the beach, though, and you’ll be surprised.
Cape Cod
The waves crashing along the shores will be the only sound you hear and there’s nothing quite as comforting as being wrapped up in the sound of the ocean.

The Gobi DesertMongolia

The Gobi Desert
The Gobi Desert is about as far away from civilization as you’re ever going to get. Ancient cities disappeared long ago, and the only visitors are a few brave nomads and the occasional paleontologist searching for signs of history.
The Gobi Desert
You might hear the occasional sound of a bird or vulture here, but it’s not very likely.

The Kalahari DesertAfrica

The Kalahari Desert
The Kalahari Desert is enormous, with parts of the desert oozing into at least 6 different parts of Africa. There’s absolutely nothing here to make noise. Not even a bird like you found in the Gobi Desert. You may stumble upon a giraffe, but the last time we checked giraffes didn’t really make any noise. There’s no sound out there – but there’s nothing else, either!

Anza-Borrego State ParkCalifornia

Anza Borrego is the largest park in the state of California. A mere four hour drive from civilization, you’ll be surprised to find such a large quiet place in California.
Anza Borrego
The area is mostly desert and is inhabited by the Borrego sheep, which is now listed as an endangered species. Unless you hear the sheep, you aren’t likely to hear anything else!

Loch LomondScotland

Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond is one of the most gorgeous lakes in Europe. The loch and its surrounding towns are far enough from London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh to keep the average tourist away but close enough for the ambitious visitor to make the half day trip.
Loch Lomond
The mountains and forests surrounding Loch Lomond protect it from the sounds created by the rest of the outside world. Balloch, the main town on the loch, can be busy but if you travel to the towns on the norther edge, like Luss or Rowardennan, you’ll find a very peaceful atmosphere. The only sounds you’ll hear from those locations are  the occasional cow and perhaps the waves crashing on the loch.

The Muir Woods – California

Muir Woods
Another California destination, the Muir Woods rest a mere 12 miles away from San Francisco, so it seems odd that this wooded area might end up on a list of quiet places. Wouldn’t the noise pollution carry that far? The park was named after conservationist John Muir and, believe it or not, park services have instituted “quiet days” during which sound is prohibited. Relax amongst the giant redwoods in complete silence.

Victoria Falls – Zambia

Victoria Falls
You are absolutely right – the crashing of a 350 foot waterfall is not quiet. It does seem pretty quiet, though, because it is absolutely impossible to hear anything over that sound when you’re visiting the falls close up. You’ll have to see it for yourself!
Everyone deserves a little bit of peace and quiet once in a while. Take the time to visit one of these places and you’ll understand exactly what that means!
Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Photo by Timothy K. Hamilton, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23

Comments by someones: The real name in correction on picture "Perce Rock" can be "Rocher-Perc" and can be in Quebec, Canada. “The Pinnacles” of Western Australia is not that, but rather a photo of the The Pinnacles on Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia. You should look into the Bisti Wilderness in new mexico. scads of lumpy rock formations in the middle of the desert. my favorite place on earth. pictures don’t translate that well. down the road from the De-na-zin Wilderness (better known, but not quite as cool). Utah has some of the strangest, vibrant desert terrain I’ve ever known. Other favorites of mine include Les Calanques in Corsica, and the Old Man of Hoy in the Shetland Isles, both completely amazing. There the James Bond Rock was really impressive, in nature it isn’t so special in my opinion. Monument Valley which is in the southern border of Utah with northern Arizona, is simply breathtaking. Mir Mine, Siberia
Mir Mine (Russian:? ; English: kimberlite diamond pipe “Peace”) is an abandoned open pit diamond mine located in Mirny, Eastern Siberia. The mine is 525 m deep and has a diameter of 1200 m. It was the first and one of the largest diamond pipes of the USSR. Mir Mine was discovered on June 13 1955 by Soviet geologists Yuri Khabardin, Ekaterina Elagina and V.Avdeenko during the large Amakinsky Expedition in Yakut ASSR. It was operated for almost 50 years, finally closing on April 30 2004while in operation, Mir Mine gave out 2 million carats annually. It takes trucks close to 2 hours to drive from the bottom to the top.
Blue ice with no air bubbles is formed by the weight of the snow/ice in the upper layers of a glacier pressing the air bubbles out of the lower layers of the glacier.
I think, in general, deserts tend to be earth’s quietest places, partly because they are mostly uninhabited but mostly because sand dunes really soak up sound. I think the most quiet quiet I’ve ever experienced was in the Namibian desert. The Hoh Valley in Washington state is a must visit for anyone who truly appreciates natural beauty. It is so quiet and peaceful there it is amazing. In the city you would never find silence like that.
Although I’ve never been to a sandy dessert, I have had the opportunity to visit the Great White North (northern Canada). No matter what part of the year you go, you can always find places where you hear the sound of nothing. The most memorable for me, was sitting around a friend’s cabin in the still 10C weather hearing nothing but the water dropping on the patio as the ice on the roof slowly melted. You seem to have completely neglected a couple of continents (Antarctica & Australia) that are also have the lowest populations. Muir Woods? Please! Try the Kimberley region of north western Australia, or any of the other ~60 million acres of national park or 17 world heritage areas in Australia. Now that’s empty & quiet.
Death Valley should definitely be on the list. After living there for 2 years I found the weekly drive from Death Valley to Las Vegas absolutely stunning. Especially at night, you could pull off the side of the road, turn off the engine, get out of the car and hear absolutely nothing. No cars, planes or animals. There are so few cars on this road that it could be and hour or so before you would see even one. Very eerie but yet peaceful. Of the three, Grand Canyon, all by myself, in winter (with snow muffling what little sound there was), was intensely quiet. My blood going through my brain was loud by comparison (no exaggeration here–that is the sound I remember). I hope I can visit the others some day. You are somewhat right about Victoria Falls – it’s like constant white noise. The wonderful thing is spending the night in the nearby town – when you wake up in the morning you can hear the falls before the city wakes up, even though they are several miles away. How is it that 6 out of 10 of these places happen to be in the United States which covers a very portion of the earth’s surface. Furthermore, The US is one of the most industrialized nations on earth even further diminishing this list to a the log of a ethnocentric traveler. I’m glad to see Muir Woods made the list. I think it has to be the quietest place I’ve ever visited. This is due to its location in a valley and the softness of the trees’ bark and needles lining the forest floor. Because the forest is made almost entirely of Red Woods and ferns, it’s rare to even hear a bird. Death Valley is quiet, but the occasional breeze, car motor, or coyote carries fairly well across the hard packed earth. It’s hard for me to believe that 6/10 of the quietest places on earth are in the United States. How about anywhere in Northern Canada, or in the Mountains of Japan, or the Beaches of some Caribbean islands?  +1 for Death Valley. Some other places mentioned here don’t even come close to deafening silence of a place that has practically no traffic, very little wind, no yapping tourists, not even noisy animals. The terrain is also ideal for sound dispersion – it’s barren, but getting any echo off those canyons is almost impossible. You can sit at the bottom of Ubehebe Crater all day without hearing a whisper from anywhere.