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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lake Nyos-Killer Lake - Cameroon

The real name of this place is Lake Nyos but the locals now call it “Killer Lake” or “The Lake that Killed” - a well deserved name.  Located in a crater on the flanks of an inactive volcano the extremely deep waters lie above a pool of magma that slowly leaks carbon dioxide. It’s part of the Oku volcanic configuration and is located in the north-west region of Cameroon. In 1986 a vast bubble of carbon dioxide mixed with sulfur and hydrogen spewed to the surface.  In total, 1.6 million tonnes of this lethal gas spread over a huge area - reaching 23 kilometers away from the source. Hugging the ground this deadly and near undetectable concoction swept over villages and small towns.  Approximately 1,700 people and 3,500 farm animals were killed within two hours.  Survivors experienced long-term side effects including lesions, soft-tissue burns and respiratory illnesses.
Lake Nyos - otherwise known as "The Lake that Killed." The outgassing of carbon dioxide was so large that it lowered the level of the lake by over a metre and turned the water to the colour of blood. 1,700 people died within two hours. This image is accredited to the USGS - United States Geological Survey.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mauritania-eye of Africa (Sahara Desert)

From space this mysterious depression in the Sahara Desert of Mauritania really does look like a human eye. The image to the left is the "pupil" but a visit to Google Earth zoomed out a little will reveal the cliffs that make up the rest of the eye. This natural phenomenon is actually a richat structure caused by the dome shaped symmetrical uplifting of underlying geology now made visible by millennia of erosion. Please note that this explanation is not wholly accepted by the scientific community. There still remain academics that believe it is the sight of a meteor impact and yet others still that believe it resembles the formations caused by underground nuclear blasts. By the way, we estimate that the detonation would have had to be in the gigaton range. Currently no country in the world has a weapon even close to this destructive yield.
This unique structure in the Sahara Desert of Mauritania can be seen from space. It is 50 miles wide and rather unusual for the fairly featureless Sahara. Though people often refer to it as an impact structure, it’s actually the natural result of hundreds of thousands of years of erosion. Formed from layers of sedimentary rock, fierce winds and shifting sand dunes have worn away at the material, leaving a crater impression behind. It is also known as the Eye of Africa.
Currently scientists believe that they know what caused this formation. Hey! It's a Ri chat structure ... whatever that really means. A more Bizarre theory is that it is the impact site of an ancient but very powerful bomb.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Great Blue Hole of Belize

The Great Blue Hole is located in the Light House Reef aproximately halfway between Long Caye and Sandbore Caye. It is about 60 miles east from the mainland of Belize (city).  In 1997 it was designated as a World Heritage site.
Found on both land and in the ocean throughout the Bahamas and the national waters of Belize are deep circular cavities known as Blue Holes which are often the entrances to cave networks, some of them up to 14 kilometres in length. Divers have reported a vast number of aquatic creatures some of which are still new to science.  In addition, they’ve recorded chambers filled with stalactites and stalagmites which only form in dry caves.  For the explorers this was proof that at one time, nearly 65,000 years ago, when the world was in the grip of the last major ice age, the sea level of the Bahamas was up to 150 metres lower than it is today.  Over time the limestone of the islands was eroded by water and vast cave networks created.  When sea levels rose again about 10,000 years ago some of these collapsed inwards and the Blue Holes were formed.

Friday, June 24, 2011

HELL'S DOOR - Turkmenistan

The Door to Hell, is situated near the small town of Darvaz in Turkmenistan.  Thirty-five years ago, geologists were drilling for gas when then encountered a very large cavern underground filled with a poisonous gas.  They ignited the gas expecting it to burn off in a few hours.  The gas is still burning to this day. Its 60 meters in diameter and 20 meters depth have not been caused by volcanic activity or a meteorite impact.This crater was created sometime in the 50’s when the Soviets were prospecting for natural gas in this area and it’s been burning since then.
It is most impressive at night and the glow from its flames can be seen miles away.  The inside of the crater is black from carbon build up and the heat is so intense that it is only possible to stay near the edge for a few minutes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Plitvice Lake- Croatia

The stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park lies in the Lika region of Croatia. The park is surrounded by the mountains Plješevica, Mala Kapela, and Medvedak, which are part of the Dinaric Alps. The place is famous for its 16 lakes known as Plitvice Lakes. The 16 blue-green Plitvice Lakes, which are separated by natural dams of travertine, are situated on the Plitvice plateau. Waterfalls connect the lakes, and the tallest waterfall is Veliki Slap at 70 meters (230 feet) tall.These lakes are categorized in two separate groups namely Gomja Jazeera or the upper lakes and Donja Jazeera or the lower lakes.Main attraction of these lakes is that water in them frequently changes its color according to microscopic organisms in it and the angle at which sunlight floats on the surface of water. The Plitvice lakes area boasts a large variety of interesting and colorful flora and fauna. Visitors can enjoy walking and hiking the many pathways and trails, or exploring the lakes by boat. The park itself has 3 hotels and a campsite, otherwise visitors can find accommodation at any of the number of villages and cities nearby.
This mesmerizing view of the place virtually enforced government of Yugoslavia to announce it as National Park in 1949 and 1979 the place was inscribed as the land of outstanding natural beauty.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dunns River Falls, Ocho Rios,Jamaica

Dunns River Falls Jamaica regularly tops lists of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls. Most Jamaica tours include a visit at this natural wonder. Whether on a Ocho Rios vacation or on a stopover on a Jamaica cruise, a visit to Dunns River Falls is a must.
Dunn’s River Falls are described by geologists as "a living phenomenon" because they are continuously rebuilt from deposits of calcium carbonate and sodium from the river water.
Dunn's River Falls is one of the very few waterfalls in the world that actually empties directly into the sea.
Although it is a place of exquisite natural beauty, a visit to Dunns River Falls Jamaica is far from a communion with nature. Visitors on Jamaican cruises and from the local resorts flock to the falls.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Aurora Borealis - United States

Natural colored light displays in the sky, usually observed in the polar zone at night. Often it appears as a greenish glow rising from an unusual direction extending in east-west.
Aurorae are natural colored light displays in the sky which are usually observed in the polar zone at night. They occur in the ionosphere in this way some scientists call them “polar auroras”. The effect is known as the aurora borealis in northern latitudes, “Aurora” is for Roman goddess of dawn and “boreas” is for Greek name for north wind. Also called the northern polar lights because it is only visible in the Northern sky from the Northern Hemisphere and it most often occurs from September to October and from March to April. The Cree call it the “Dance of the Spirits”. In southern parts is called aurora australis or southern polar lights with similar properties, “australis” is the latin word for “of the south”.
On August 28, 1859 and September 2, 1859 as a result of the “great geomagnetic storm” are produced the auroras, the most spectacular ever witnessed throughout recent recorded history. Probably the aurora was produced by one of the most intense coronal mass ejections in history, very near to the maximum intensity of the sun. Some telegraph lines seem to have been of the appropriate length and orientation which allowed a current to be induced in them and actually used for communication. The following conversation occurred between two operators around two hours using no battery power at all and working solely with the current induced by the aurora.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Shwedagon Pagoda- Myanmar

The Shwedagon Pagoda sits upon holy Singuttara Hill, visible from miles away. Shwedagon is the most sacred pagoda as it enshrines the relics of the three earlier buddhas and the eight hairs of Gautama Buddha. It rises 99.4 metres (326 feet), with the perimeter measuring 432.8 metres (1,420 feet) and glittering in gold. The very top is tipped with a 76-carat diamond. Legend has it that the Shwedagon Pagoda is 2500 years old.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


One of Japan's most popular temples, Kiyomizudera (清水寺; also spelled Kiyomizu-dera; "Pure Water Temple") was founded in 780 AD and still functions as a temple associated with the Hosso sect of Japanese Buddhism.Although Kiyomizudera was founded in 780 AD, the present temple complex was rebuilt in 1633 by the third Tokugawa shogun, Iemitsu. Kiyomizudera's architecture was subsequently imitated by other temples all over Japan and it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.Kiyomizudera occupies an excellent location on a steep hill in eastern Kyoto. The quaint street leading up to the temple is lined with souvenir shops, restaurants and ryokan.he main hall of Kiyomizudera is dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of compassion. It is notable for its vast veranda, supported by 139 wooden pillars (each 49 feet high), which juts out over the hillside and offers beautiful views of the city. The views and temple grounds are especially lovely during the spring and autumn. Not a single nail was used in the whole structure.

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