Mohan Lal Kashyap
Whether natural or man-made, it's difficult to deny the fantastic beauty and variety the world has to offer. Here are 10 of the most visually stunning and down-right unbelievable places on Earth:
The Giant's Causeway is the most popular tourist attraction of Northern Ireland, and consists of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that are a result of a volcanic eruption. Voted the fourth greatest wonder of the United Kingdom, the Causeway was declared a Natural National Reserve in 1987. Beginning at the cliff's foot, the columns form stepping stones that disappear into the sea. The majority are hexagonal in shape, and the tallest reach a height of 39 feet. Those who are familiar with classic rock may recognize this location from the cover of Led Zeppelin's "Houses of the Holy" album.
The Rainbow Mountains in China's Danxia Landform Geological Park are truly a sight to behold. Looking at this majestic mountain range, it is hard to believe that the image is not digitally altered. Over the course of 24 million years, different colored layers of sandstone and other minerals were pressed together to form distinctive ribbons of color. Thousands of years of rain and wind have carved out the beautiful, technicolor landscape seen today.
Trolltunga Cliff is a horizontally hanging rock formation in Skjeggedal, Norway. Translated in English as "The Trolls Tongue", Trolltunga lingers around 700 feet above the Norwegian lake known as Ringedalsvatnet.
Glass Beach is visual proof that beauty can be generated from the unlikeliest of sources. The Fort Bragg, California beach is the result of early twentieth century residents dumping their garbage over the cliffs. The refuse included glass (of course), appliances, and even automobiles. Periodically, beach patrons and authorities would light fires to reduce the amount of garbage on the beach. Over the decades waves pounded the shores and broke down everything but the glass and pottery. What was left was worn into the smooth and colorful glass and stone that cover Glass Beach.
While only 12 feet wide and 5 feet high, the Fly Geyser's astonishing visual impact makes up for its scant size. Similar to the Glass Beach, Fly Geyser's origins lie in human error and bad habits. The geyser was created accidentally by well drillers in 1964, after years of not being capped properly or left unplugged altogether. Dissolved minerals began to rise and ultimately accumulated into the formation we see today, and we can only expect it to grow. The mineral water—which continually sprays about 5 feet into the air—is always expanding the formation.
Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is the world's largest salt flat, measuring a whopping 4,086 square miles. As its name suggests, Salar de Uyuni is extraordinarily flat, with altitude level variations measuring at a maximum of one meter, or a little over three feet. During the wet season, the flats are covered by a shallow layer of water. At this time, the salt flat appears as if anyone standing within them is walking on water.
Bryce Canyon National Park is located in Southwestern Utah. Though called a canyon, it's actually made up of giant natural amphitheaters. The distinctive geological structures known as hoodoos were caused by years of steam erosion and frost weathering. The red, orange, and white colors of the rocks give a dramatic and amazing view to park visitors.
The Yuanyang Rice Terraces drape the southern slopes of Ailao Mountain in Yuanyang County, China. Home to the Hani people for over 2,500 years, the amazing landscape evolved from human ingenuity and love of artistic beauty. With an area of over 28,000 acres, the flowing fields of rice and other vegetation are as expansive as they are aesthetically mesmerizing.
In Kleven, Ukraine resides a picturesque rail line known as The Tunnel of Love. The tracks are traditionally meant to provide passage for a private train which delivers wood to a local factory, but couples looking for a secluded fairytale-like experience have given the passageway an additional purpose. Measuring 1.8 miles long and shaped by the train's three trips a day, the Tunnel of Love is a destination for lovers in search of a granted wish. It is said that if they are true in their love, the wish made within the tunnel will be granted.
Rio Secreto is also known as Mexico's underground river. While just recently becoming a tourist destination, it's likely that Río Secreto patrons will only grow. After all, with its thousands of stalactites and stalagmites along the river's edge, visitors are left feeling as if they have traveled back in time, and to a place untouched by human hands. The underground passageways of seemingly endless tunnels stun the senses and will absolutely take your breath away.