On our planet you can find many incredible and bizarre places where you can feel like you are on another planet. These amazing places can be found on almost all continents of the Earth. We wish you a pleasant viewing!
Dragon blood trees, Yemen
Dragon blood trees (or Dracaena cinnabar red, also Dragon tree, Socotra Dragon tree) is one of the most famous endemic plants of Socotra Island (country of Yemen), which looks like a mushroom up to 10 meters high with a green hat. In the Great Russian Encyclopedia, this plant is called "one of the most bizarre trees in the world."
Because of the resinous juice of a blood-red color (the so-called "dragon blood"), this plant is called the dragon tree. Dragon's blood, or Dragon's blood is the general name for the tree resins of various plants. These resins are traditionally used in folk crafts, arts and crafts and in the furniture industry (as dyes, polishes, varnishes and their components). Some are also used in folk medicine and as incense. Currently used in dietary supplements, perfumes and cosmetics.
When cut from the bark of this tree, red juice begins to flow, which quickly hardens. The resulting crimson gum has been used by locals since ancient times for medical, veterinary and cosmetic purposes.
The red color of this resin is given by persistent and bright pigments dracorubin and dracocarmine, the biological significance of which remains a mystery to scientists. And unscientists believe that the "Dragon's Blood" has magical properties, it was used in mummification, various rituals... and, of course, like paint.
Lake Hillier, Australia
Hillier is a mineral lake, which is remarkable for its pink color of the water. It is located on the edge of Middle Island in southwestern Australia. The lake is surrounded by sand and eucalyptus forest along the edges. The color of the lake water is constant and does not change when water is taken into a separate container.
The length of Lake Hillier does not exceed 600 meters, and the width is about 250 meters. Only a narrow strip of dunes covered with vegetation separates it to the north from the Indian Ocean. The expressiveness of the lake is given by sand and white salt, located at the edges and framing it. The unusual color of Lake Hillier was discovered in 1802 during the expedition of Captain Matthew Flinders, an Australian explorer, hydrographer and scientist.
The source of the pink color of Lake Hillier was not found for a long time, but according to one of the hypotheses of scientists, colored water is the result of the vital activity of microorganisms and bacteria that live in this salty reservoir. Moreover, the level of salt content here is much higher than in coastal ocean waters, and in the dry summer months, pink hues turn into coral and burgundy. In 2016, within the framework of the Extreme Microbiome Project, metagenomic studies of the lake water were carried out, which revealed that the presence of Dunaliella salina algae, as well as organisms Salinibacter ruber, Dechloromonas aromatica and some other archaea species, really gives a pink tint to the water.
For tourists, Lake Hillier is not the most convenient object, since it is extremely difficult to get to it on your own. Due to the lack of water navigation in the area, the most convenient way to get there is by air, which is beyond the means of most people who want to see an unusual body of water. In addition, in order to preserve the unique ecosystem, landing on the island is prohibited.
Benagil Sea Cave, Portugal
An extraordinary sea cave is located on the beach of the small village of Benagil in the Portuguese Algarve region, in the southern part of the country. This unique cave is in close proximity to the world famous Praia da Marinha beach and is the most popular of all the sea caves in Portugal.
For many years, the coastal cliffs have been sharpened by winds and sea waves, creating such an amazing natural formation. The cave has a large arched entrance that is flooded with the sea. The bottom of the cave is lined with fine sand. Here you can hide from the sun and enjoy the mysterious silence.
And now, thanks to a unique sea cave, it is a tourist area with the world famous and frequently visited Praia de Benagil beach.
There are minor inconveniences for tourists – you can’t get here on foot, and not everyone can swim about 300 meters from the nearest beach. Even by boat it is dangerous to approach the cave beach if the sea is stormy. Tour organizers often do not drop off tourists in the cave, but allow them to admire the grottoes only from the sea. Local tour companies often include travel near the cave on sightseeing cruises that take place here from April to September.
Lake Natron, Tanzania
Natron is a salty and alkaline lake located in the Arusha region in northern Tanzania, on the border with Kenya. The lake has a depth of no more than three meters and changes the coastline depending on the season and water level.
Lake Natron is covered with a crust of salt that periodically turns red and pink. This is the result of the vital activity of microorganisms that live in the lake. The lake is home to millions of flamingos.
Natron is the only breeding ground for the lesser flamingo. Nevertheless, the high alkalinity and temperature of the lake create such conditions that many animals, mainly birds, accidentally falling into the water, die and their remains harden and become covered with mineral substances.
Kungur Ice Cave, Russia
The Kungur Ice Cave is one of the most popular attractions in Siberia and the Urals. Together with the Ice Mountain, it forms a historical and natural complex of regional significance (in the USSR – a reserve of federal significance). The cave is located in the Perm Territory, on the right bank of the Sylva River on the outskirts of the city of Kungur in the village of Filippovka, 100 km from Perm.
The Kungur cave contains 58 grottoes, 70 lakes, 146 so-called "organ pipes" (the highest one is in the Ether Grotto, 22 meters) – these are high shafts that reach almost to the surface. The age of the cave is estimated at 10 000–12000 years.
The Kungur ice cave is one of the largest karst caves in the European part of Russia, the seventh longest gypsum cave in the world. The length of the cave is about 5 meters, of which 700 km is equipped for tourists. The air temperature in the center of the cave is from +1,5 °C to -5 °C.
Glowing beach of Vaadu island, Maldives
Plankton washed up on the beaches of Vaadhoo Island (Maldives) colors the shores with thousands of lights. The glow is explained by bioluminescence – chemical processes in the body of animals, in which the released energy is released in the form of light.
Luminous unicellular dinoflagellates trigger their illumination from movement in the water column: an electrical impulse resulting from a mechanical stimulus opens ion channels, the work of which activates the "luminous" enzyme.
When gathered together, they can be seen even from space: the huge ocean surface emits a bluish light. Best of all, the glow of these protozoa can be observed during the breeding season: the number of unicellular organisms becomes such that sea water resembles milk – however, it is too bright blue.
Uyuni Salt Flat, Bolivia
The Uyuni Salt Flats is a dry salt lake in the south of the Altiplano desert plain in Bolivia. The salt marsh has an area of 10 km² and is the largest salt marsh in the world. Thanks to the development of tourism in the Uyuni salt marsh, locals began to build hotels from salt blocks where you can stay overnight.
The main minerals that make up the surface of the solonchak are gypsum and halite. The surface of the salt marsh has a perfectly flat surface, and when a small amount of water enters the lake from time to time, it is flooded with a very salty layer of water and turns into the world's largest mirror surface.
The Uyuni salt marsh is estimated to contain 10 billion tons of salt, of which less than 25000 tons are mined annually. Lithium chloride, which is found here in large quantities, is suitable for the extraction of lithium from it, which is important for the battery industry. About 100 million tons of lithium, or 50% to 70% of the world's reserves, is located in this lake.
About 40,000 years ago, this area was part of Lake Minchin. After it dried up, there were two lakes that currently exist: Poopo and Uru-Uru, as well as two large salt marshes: Salar de Coipasa and Uyuni. The area of Uyuni is approximately 25 times the area of the dry Lake Bonneville in the USA (which has an area of 260 km²).
Due to its large size, flat surface and high albedo (characteristic of the diffuse reflectivity of a surface) in the presence of a thin layer of water, as well as minimal change in altitude, the Uyuni Salt is an ideal tool for testing and calibrating remote sensing instruments on orbiting satellites. The clear skies and dry air of Uyuni allow satellites to be calibrated five times more accurately than using the ocean surface.
One of the attractions of the salt marsh is the cemetery of steam locomotives, located near the railway tracks from Antofagasta to Bolivia, 3 km from the city of Uyuni. The “cemetery” is where the steam locomotives of the said railway lie, retired from the train service in the 1950s, when the extraction of minerals in the surrounding mines fell sharply. There are interesting specimens here: the locomotives of Garratt and Meyer, but all are in unsatisfactory condition. In 2006, the local government adopted a 15-year program for the development of the region, one of the points of which is the transformation of the "cemetery" into an open-air museum.
Lake Hillier (Australia)
Uyuni Salt Flat (Bolivia)
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