(Flickr/Andrew E. Russell)
Mother Nature is awe-inspiring and mysterious in the way it works. We have nature to thank for creating some of the world’s most extraordinary sights, almost unreal in their beauty. Below are some natural wonders that have us spellbound:
Neon-Blue Volcano Fire
Neon blue puffs of smoke and oozing liquid emit from this volcano in Kawah Ijen, Indonesia. The mesmerizing sight has been referred to as “blue fire.”
In actuality, they are sulfuric gases that escape into the air and combust when they make contact with oxygen. Some of the gases condense into liquid, giving the illusion that blue lava is flowing down. Though sulfur burns day and night here, the effect is only visible when the sky turns dark.
Instagram-Worthy Light Show Amid Rocks
In the American Southwest, visitors can climb into the stunning rock formations at Antelope Canyon in Arizona, which were created by natural erosion over time. Light filters through the canyon’s narrow slots and crevices, producing ethereal scenes you’ll want to photograph.
An Endless Mirror
The world’s largest salt flat, Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, was created after a prehistoric lake dried up, leaving behind a massive landscape full of salt formations. When it rains, the flat turns into a reflective surface, creating an otherworldly mirror effect that seems to go on and on until the edge of the horizon.
A Constant Lightning Storm
What’s it like to constantly have lightning storms throughout the night, 260 days of the year? Head to where Lake Maracaibo and the Catatumbo River in Venezuela meets to find out. Come October, the storms are the most intense, with an average of 28 lightning flashes per minute, according to the BBC. Scientists have tried to decipher why exactly the phenomenon takes place, but haven’t arrived at a definitive answer. For now, they chalk it up to the unique geography, wind patterns, and climate in the area.
Jaw-Dropping Ice Caves
These ice caves are located within the Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska, United States. The breathtaking ice walls formed after water flowed through the glacier, melting the interior and hollowing out a passageway through the ice. Water continues to rush over rocks inside. Adventurous travelers can trek inside after kayaking to this glacier.
An Underwater Park
Green Lake, a park in the small village of Tragoess in Austria, looks like any normal European spot with a lake during most of the year. But come spring, the melting snow from the nearby Hochschwab Mountains flows down and causes the lake to flood. The park becomes submerged in water, transforming the area into an underwater wonderland—the trees, benches, bridges, and flowers all intact.