We continue our journey in search of alien places on our planet. These amazing places can be found on all continents of the globe. Images enlarge when you click on them. We wish you a pleasant viewing!
1. Bryce Canyon, USA
Bryce Canyon is a national park in the United States, located in southwestern Utah. It is notable for its unique geological structures, called hoodoos, formed by the erosion of river and lake sediments as a result of the action of wind, water and ice. The red, orange and white colors of the rocks are spectacular, especially at sunrise or sunset.
The area of the park is 145 km². The main attraction of the park is Bryce Canyon. Despite the name, this is not exactly a canyon, but rather a giant natural amphitheater along the east side of the Pauntsaugant Plateau, created by erosion.
Bryce Canyon is located much higher than the nearby national parks – the Grand Canyon and Zion. The territory of the park is very different in ecology and climate, creating a contrast for visitors, who often combine visits to these three famous parks in one trip.
The canyon was named after Ebenezer Bryce, who established a homestead in the area in 1875. The area around Bryce Canyon became a national monument in 1924 and a national park four years later. In terms of attendance, the park is second only to the Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks – mainly because of its remoteness.
Most visitors to the park take in the sights using the scenic drive, which provides access to 13 vantage points above the amphitheatres. Bryce Canyon has 8 major supported hiking trails that can be completed in less than a day. Some of these routes intersect, allowing hikers to combine routes for more challenging hikes. The park also has two trails designed for night hikes.
2. Waterfall Svartifoss, Iceland
The Svartifoss waterfall is located within the Skaftafell National Park in Iceland and is one of the park's most popular attractions. Svartifoss means "black waterfall" in Icelandic. It is surrounded by unusual hexagonal columns of black lava, hence its name.
These columns are the result of the slow crystallization of lava and have a regular hexagonal shape, which gives this not very high waterfall (only 12 meters) a majestic look. Similar well-known lava formations can be seen in the north of Ireland at a place called Giant's Causeway (for more details, see here ☛).
Svartifoss waterfall is a popular place for tourists to walk, although the walking distance from the last car park is about 2 km. There are very beautiful places, amazing views and great fresh air.
3. Erwangdong Cave, China
In the Wulong County of the Chinese province of Chongqing, a real miracle of nature is hidden underground, the existence of which mankind learned quite by accident. The Erwandun (Er Van Dong) cave system was found by a group of 15 speleologists who then spent a month in this underground world studying it. The cave starts at a depth of 195 meters in the sinkhole Niubici. 42139 meters long and 441 meters deep make Er Van Dong one of the largest caves in the world. But these are not the most amazing features of this enchanted place.
Inside the underground kingdom of Ervandun limestone caves, its own meteorological system, its own climate, and its inhabitants formed. Who would have thought that in the depths of the mountains, far from the surface of the earth, real clouds can fly under the ceiling, penetrating here through crevices, that ghostly fogs can fill the cavities inside the rocks, and underground lakes and waterfalls can be inhabited by animals that do not exist anywhere on the planet. For example, albino fish that do not have eyes live in local underground lakes: life in complete darkness does not require them to color or see the world around them.
Of all the underground rooms, the largest can be called the "Cloud Staircase Hall", whose area is approximately 51,000 square meters. The echo of a sound thrown in it, a scream or a whistle, returns only after a few seconds. And in the cave, which is called "Crunchy Blankets", there are gigantic stalagmites that have grown in a tiny fragment over many centuries.
The labyrinths of the Er Van Dong cave system are a bizarre and amazing creation of nature, in which man has not even remotely participated. It is impossible to imagine that, having descended underground, you suddenly find yourself in a separate Universe with its drifting clouds and thick fogs, with majestic waterfalls spraying water with great force, with rains and winds. An interesting fact is that locals make weather forecasts based on observing the cave – if fog comes out of it, they expect rain.
4. Bonneville, USA
Bonneville is a 260 km² dry salt lake located in northwestern Utah, USA. The lake was formed about 32 thousand years ago, and about 16,8 thousand years ago the lake dried up. The depth of salt deposits reaches 1,8 meters in many places.
This place is widely known for two high-speed highways that are laid on the surface of the lake at different angles. The flat salt surface of Lake Bonneville allows supercars to reach speeds of over 1000 km/h.
The former lake was named after Benjamin Bonneville (1796–1878), an explorer of this part of America. The landscapes of the dried lake are involved in several films: The Ballad of Big Al, The Warlock, Independence Day, Bonneville, The Fastest Indian, and others.
5. Vatnajökull Glacier, Iceland
Vatnajokull Glacier (Vatnajokull, Vatnajokull) is the largest glacier on the island of Iceland. It is located in the southeastern part of the island and occupies 8% of its territory. In terms of volume, Vatnajökull is the largest in Europe (about 3000 km³), and in terms of territory it is the third (its area is 8100 km²).
The average ice thickness is 400 meters, and the maximum is 1000 meters. The Vatnajökull Glacier is 140 km long. The highest point in Iceland, the Hvannadalshnukur peak (2110 meters), is located on the southern outskirts of Vatnajökull, near the Skaftafell National Park.
Under the glacier, as under many glaciers in Iceland, there are several volcanoes. Volcanic lakes were the source of major glacial floods in 1996. The volcano below these lakes also caused a significant but short-lived eruption in November 2004.
Over the past few years, Vatnajökull has been gradually decreasing, possibly due to climate change and recent volcanic activity. Translated from Icelandic, Vatnajökull means "glacier that gives water." And this is not surprising, since the glacier feeds several glacial lakes, including Jokulsarlon and Grainaloun.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, Vatnajökull is the object of the longest skyline in the world – 550 km, the highest mountain in the Faroe Islands. The Guinness Book of Records states that "as a result of the light-bending effects of atmospheric refraction, Vatnajökull (2119 meters), Iceland, can sometimes be seen from the Faroe Islands, from a distance of 550 km."
Vatnajökull has often been used in cinematography. For example, a glacier was used as the setting for the opening sequence (set in Siberia) of the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill, in which Bond took out a number of armed villains before hiding in a submarine in Alaska. And in November 2011, the glacier was used as a filming location for the second season of the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones.
Breathtaking scenery of Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon: Navajo Loop Hike
Bonneville: The Lone Traveler
Bonneville – Week of Speed: Incredible Hypercars
Vatnajökull Ice Caves Tour
One of the dozen arms of the Vatnajökull glacier
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