World’s Weird Landscapes | Creation Robot
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World’s Weird Landscapes

May 31st, 2013 · No Comments

At first glance, California's Mono Lake seems eerily barren. Twisting limestone pinnacles, called tufa towers, line its shores, some reaching heights of over 30 feet. Tufa towers grow only underwater, but Los Angeles' diversion of Mono Lake's tributary streams beginning in 1941 exposed the gnarled formations. Mono Lake, which is at least 760,000 years old, has no outlet to the ocean, causing salt to accumulate and create harsh alkaline conditions. Yet, oddly enough, Mono Lake hosts a flourishing ecosystem based on tiny brine shrimp, which feed the more than 2 million migratory birds that nest there each year.

At first glance, California’s Mono Lake seems eerily barren. Twisting limestone pinnacles, called tufa towers, line its shores, some reaching heights of over 30 feet. Tufa towers grow only underwater, but Los Angeles’ diversion of Mono Lake’s tributary streams beginning in 1941 exposed the gnarled formations. Mono Lake, which is at least 760,000 years old, has no outlet to the ocean, causing salt to accumulate and create harsh alkaline conditions. Yet, oddly enough, Mono Lake hosts a flourishing ecosystem based on tiny brine shrimp, which feed the more than 2 million migratory birds that nest there each year.

Like Mono Lake 1,000 miles south, British Columbia's Spotted Lake is landlocked, resulting in salty, alkaline waters. Over the summer, much of the water dries, leaving behind a lava lamp pattern of mineral "spots" that can appear white, pale yellow, green, or blue, depending on their composition. These mini-islands consist mostly of magnesium sulfate, which crystallizes to form grayish walkways around and between the spots.

Like Mono Lake 1,000 miles south, British Columbia’s Spotted Lake is landlocked, resulting in salty, alkaline waters. Over the summer, much of the water dries, leaving behind a lava lamp pattern of mineral “spots” that can appear white, pale yellow, green, or blue, depending on their composition. These mini-islands consist mostly of magnesium sulfate, which crystallizes to form grayish walkways around and between the spots.

Years of erosion by vegetation and expanding ice carved Zhangjiajie National Park's narrow, terraced sandstone pillars, some of which climb over 650 feet. The park's steep cliffs and plunging gullies also make the perfect home for more than 100 vertebrate species, including scaly anteaters, giant salamanders, and sprightly rhesus monkeys. Meanwhile, the damp subtropical climate nourishes diverse, sometimes unusual, flora.

Years of erosion by vegetation and expanding ice carved Zhangjiajie National Park’s narrow, terraced sandstone pillars, some of which climb over 650 feet. The park’s steep cliffs and plunging gullies also make the perfect home for more than 100 vertebrate species, including scaly anteaters, giant salamanders, and sprightly rhesus monkeys. Meanwhile, the damp subtropical climate nourishes diverse, sometimes unusual, flora.

The smallest of Yellowstone's geyser basins, Midway Geyser Basin (also dubbed "Hell's Half Acre") actually contains two of the park's largest hydrothermal features: Grand Prismatic Spring and Excelsior Geyser, which dumps 4,000 gallons of water a minute into neighboring Firehole River. The spring's psychedelic coloration comes from pigmented bacteria in the surrounding microbial mats.

The smallest of Yellowstone’s geyser basins, Midway Geyser Basin (also dubbed “Hell’s Half Acre”) actually contains two of the park’s largest hydrothermal features: Grand Prismatic Spring and Excelsior Geyser, which dumps 4,000 gallons of water a minute into neighboring Firehole River. The spring’s psychedelic coloration comes from pigmented bacteria in the surrounding microbial mats.

Blood Falls' grisly appearance comes from its iron-laden waters, which rust when they come in contact with the air, reddening the briny outflow as it trickles down Taylor Glacier onto ice-covered West Lake Bonney.

Blood Falls’ grisly appearance comes from its iron-laden waters, which rust when they come in contact with the air, reddening the briny outflow as it trickles down Taylor Glacier onto ice-covered West Lake Bonney.

According to geological studies, the Giant's Causeway first formed as a lava plateau when molten rock erupted through fissures in the earth. During a period of intense volcanic activity about 50 to 60 million years ago, differences in the lava cooling rate caused the columns to form, while further weathering created circular formations nicknamed "giant's eyes."

According to geological studies, the Giant’s Causeway first formed as a lava plateau when molten rock erupted through fissures in the earth. During a period of intense volcanic activity about 50 to 60 million years ago, differences in the lava cooling rate caused the columns to form, while further weathering created circular formations nicknamed “giant’s eyes.”

Measuring up to 400 feet tall, the hills are made of limestone containing marine fossils dating back millions of years. The verdant grass that usually covers the hills turns a milky brown come dry season, giving the more than 1,200 mounds their famously delectable appearance - 'Chocolate Hills'.

Measuring up to 400 feet tall, the hills are made of limestone containing marine fossils dating back millions of years. The verdant grass that usually covers the hills turns a milky brown come dry season, giving the more than 1,200 mounds their famously delectable appearance – ‘Chocolate Hills’.

Named after the Hawaiian word for "spewing," the mythical home of the volcanic goddess Pele rises 4,190 feet from the southeastern part of the Big Island. One of the world's most active and perilous volcanoes, Kilauea has been erupting for more than three decades, fitfully coughing basaltic lava into the Pacific Ocean below.

Named after the Hawaiian word for “spewing,” the mythical home of the volcanic goddess Pele rises 4,190 feet from the southeastern part of the Big Island. One of the world’s most active and perilous volcanoes, Kilauea has been erupting for more than three decades, fitfully coughing basaltic lava into the Pacific Ocean below.

Spewing scalding water in all directions, the aptly named Fly Geyser sits about 10 miles from the site of Burning Man, the annual counterculture art festival in Nevada's Black Rock Desert. This geological curiosity was formed accidentally in 1916, when ranch owners drilled a well in the area. They hit water, all right—too bad it measured a piping 200 degrees. The drilling crew plugged the well, but the geothermal water seeped through, leaving behind calcium carbonate deposits that continue to accumulate, forming a 12-foot-high bulbous mound resembling a scoop of rainbow sherbet.

Spewing scalding water in all directions, the aptly named Fly Geyser sits about 10 miles from the site of Burning Man, the annual counterculture art festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. This geological curiosity was formed accidentally in 1916, when ranch owners drilled a well in the area. They hit water, all right—too bad it measured a piping 200 degrees. The drilling crew plugged the well, but the geothermal water seeped through, leaving behind calcium carbonate deposits that continue to accumulate, forming a 12-foot-high bulbous mound resembling a scoop of rainbow sherbet.

Lake Hillier sits like a giant punchbowl at the edge of Middle Island in Western Australia's Recherche Archipelago, surrounded by a thick forest of paperbark and eucalyptus trees. A slender strip of shore separates Lake Hillier from the predictably blue Southern Ocean, highlighting the lake's otherworldly appearance.

Lake Hillier sits like a giant punchbowl at the edge of Middle Island in Western Australia’s Recherche Archipelago, surrounded by a thick forest of paperbark and eucalyptus trees. A slender strip of shore separates Lake Hillier from the predictably blue Southern Ocean, highlighting the lake’s otherworldly appearance.

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