From sailing stones to an eternally burning fire, we take a look at some of the most unusual phenomena that happen in these locations only.
Racetrack Playa, California
The picturesque dry lake in Death Valley National Park is known for the unusual geographical phenomenon of sailing stones. Rocks appear to move on their own, leaving behind long tracks marking its movements. After years of research, it was discovered that the rocks’ movement is due to the formation of ice sheets under them during cold nights. Only a few millimeters thick, the sheets are driven by wind, in turn pushing the rocks at a speed of up to 5 meters per minute.
Kawah Ijen Volcano, Indonesia
The lake at Kawah Ijen volcano on the island of Java in Indonesia is the largest acidic crater lake in the world. The lake is so acidic because of the amount of sulfuric acid in the water from the volcano. At night, ignited sulfuric gas turns an amazingly beautiful shade of blue, but be careful – the temperature from the flames can be over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela
Registering the world’s highest frequency of lightning, the Catatumbo lightning is a stunning weather phenomenon. Between 140 to 260 nights each year, a mass of storm clouds gathers over the Catatumbo River, where it empties into Lake Maracaibo, and lightning streaks across the area, sometimes up to 280 times in an hour. Believed to be a result of the winds blowing across the lake and the surrounding swampy plains, the phenomenon is popularly known as the “Lighthouse of Maracaibo.”
Darvaza Crater, Turkmenistan
The Darvaza Crater is sometimes called the "Door to Hell" and it's easy to see why as night falls and visitors can clearly see the burning flames against the night sky. It is a natural gas crater that was formed in 1971 when the gas field above it collapsed into the earth. Geologists lit it on fire so the gas wouldn't spread and it has been alight ever since.
Blood Falls, Antarctica
Discovered in 1911, the Blood Falls are named after red plumes of water which emit from Taylor Glacier, in Victoria Land, East Antarctica. The red coloration is due to a high concentration of iron oxide in the water.
Lake Hillier, Australia
Noted for its unique bubblegum-pink color, Lake Hiller is located in Middle Island, off the coast of western Australia. Some researchers believe that the color is obtained from a micro algae that inhabits the lake. Interestingly, the lake is safe to swim in.
Before 1963, the volcanic island of Surtsey didn’t exist. Owing to a volcanic eruption that began 130 meters (426 ft) below sea level, the island surfaced above, slowly taking its shape, until June 1967. Recent surveys indicate that the island has an area of 1.3 sq. km (0.50 sq mi) and a height of 155 m (509 ft) above sea level.
Blue Grotto, Capri, Italy
Located on the coast of the Italian island of Capri, this sea cave is illuminated with an iridescent blue glow, created by sunlight passing through an underwater cavity.
Old Faithful, Wyoming
Although there are hundreds of natural geysers present all around the world, Old Faithful geyser at the Yellowstone National Park is arguably the most popular one. Erupting every 44 to 125 minutes, the stunning chutes of water go up to 106 to 185 feet (32 to 56 m), lasting from 1.5 to 5 minutes. Each plume is believed to contain 3,700 to 8,400 US gallons (14,000 to 32,000 L) of boiling water.
Eternal Flame Falls, New York
Located in Shale Creek Preserve in the Chestnut Ridge Park, the aptly named Eternal Flame Falls is marked by its flickering golden flames behind a curtain of water. The flame is due to the escape of natural gas within a small cave behind the falls. Although the flame appears all-year, it sometimes extinguishes and re-ignites.
One of the most popular hot springs destinations among tourists, Hierapolis-Pamukkale was marked as a World Heritage Site in 1988. People come from all over to bathe in the warm water in the pool-like structures. Dating back to the second century B.C., the mineral-rich water bodies provide immense therapeutic benefits. The temperature of the water is generally above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pink Sand Beach, Harbour Islands, Bahamas
Located in Harbour Islands, the Pink Sand Beach attains its unique color from microscopic coral insects, called Foraminifera. The beach is known for its cool sand, which makes it a great place for barefoot exploration.
Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming
Located in the Yellowstone National Park, the gorgeous spring takes its rainbow-like shades from the bacteria that inhabits the steaming-hot water. Stretching over 370 feet (110 meter), it is also the third largest hot spring in the world.
Koekohe Beach, New Zealand
The Koekohe Beach is noted for huge spherical boulders scattered all over the coast. The rocks formed on the sea bed over millions of years, collecting sediments and minerals and taking on the unique, round shape. The diameter of the rocks range from 0.5 m to 2.2 m (1.6 ft to 7.2 ft).
Longyearbyen in Norway is the world's northernmost city and is known for its midnight sun, which never sets from April 19 to August 23, owing to the town’s extreme position above the Arctic Circle. On the flip side, the sun sets on October 25th and does not go above the horizon for about four months.