Tag Archives: coolest places on earth

The Coolest Places On Earth: The Crooked Forest- Poland (Pictures)

Near the small town of Gryfino in northwest Poland lies one of the strangest forests you will ever see.

The Crooked Forest, as it’s known, is a collection of around 400 pine trees. These are no normal pines, though. At the base of each tree, the trunk takes a 90 degree bend before gradually curving back upwards. All of the curves point in the same direction: north.

Click to enlarge

It is estimated that the trees grew for 7-10 years before they were held down, creating their oddly-curved trunks. What caused this, however, is a bit of a mystery.

Some people think it was a natural phenomenon. One theory suggests that a massive snowstorm buried and flattened all of the trees for an extended period of time when they were young.

Some even hypothesize that unique gravitational forces in the area morphed the trees, though there is little to no evidence to support either of these theories.

Click to enlarge

Because of the consistency and apparent deliberateness of the deformations, it’s likely that they were man made. The most widely-spread theory is that local farmers planted and manipulated the trees back in 1930, hoping to create exquisite furniture with the bent shapes of the trees.

The story goes that the onset of World War II forced whoever was tending the forest to abandon the project. We may never know what actually caused these trees to grow the way they did, but either way, they’re a pretty phenomenal sight.

Check out some more pictures of the Crooked Forest below. Click an image to enlarge:

(h/t EST Facts)

The Coolest Places On Earth: Fingal’s Cave, Scotland (Photo Gallery)

Fingal’s Cave is a beautiful sea cave in Scotland on the island of Staffa in the inner Hebrides. The caves unique formation, structure, and history have made it an international attraction.

The cave is believed to have formed 60 million years ago in a volcanic eruption. The eruption caused lava flow that formed hexagonally-jointed basalt columns similar to Giant’s Causeway in Ireland. In fact, scientist believe both Giant’s Causeway and Fingal’s cave were formed from the same lava flow.

Today, Fingal’s Cave is a sight that people travel from around the world to see. The cave has a history of mythological tales, and was a major inspiration to famous German composer Felix Mendelssohn, as well as countless other artists.

Check out the video and photos below to see and learn more about Fingal’s Cave.

 

 

 

The Coolest Places On Earth: Fly Geyser, Nevada (Pictures)

On the Hualapai Flat in Northwest Nevada, about a third of a mile off of old Route 34, lies the Fly Ranch. In 1964, energy speculators dug wells into the area, looking for sources of geothermal energy.

The well they dug at Fly Ranch was either capped incorrectly or not tapped at all, because soon after the speculators left, dissolved minerals began to rise from the ground, accumulating into the mounds which continue to grow to this day.

Eventually, the built up pressure from the hot water in the ground was too much to hold back, and the water burst through, creating a geyser and some 30-40 pools in the surrounding 74 acres.

Unfortunately, Fly Ranch is privately owned so you can’t visit the geyser without special permission. You can, however, check out some more pictures of it below. Click an image to enlarge:

The brilliant colors on the geyser are a result of the thermophilic algae that grows on the rocks.

Thermophiles are just one example  of a group of organisms known as extremophiles. These organisms thrive under extreme conditions, such as the boiling hot temperatures of the water coming from the geyser.

Other extremophiles are known to live in extremely acidic, alkaline or even radioactive environments. Many are able to survive without oxygen and some even live in the frigid conditions of ice and permafrost.

The Coolest Places On Earth: The Marieta Islands, Mexico (Pictures)

Off the western coast of Mexico, about 150 miles west of Guadalajara, lies a pair of uninhabited islands with a very peculiar history.

Formed by volcanic activity thousands of years ago, the islands have never been settled upon by anybody. In the early 1900s, the Mexican government decided to use the islands for military explosives testing, creating a number of extraordinary caves and rock formations on the islands.

Check out some pictures of the islands below:

In the late 1960s, world-famous scientist and environmental activist Jacques Cousteau led an international outcry about the testing, prompting the Mexican government to turn the islands into a national park.

Hunting, fishing and human activity are prohibited on the island, though visitors are allowed to check out the hidden beaches and caves created by the explosions.

The biodiversity of the islands is legendary. Visitors regularly report seeing sea turtles, manta rays, octopus, dolphins, and humpback whales, as well as thousands of species of tropical fish.

The islands are also home to a number of bird species, including the famous Blue-footed Booby, who has quite the scandalous sex life.

Count Dracula’s Castle Just Went Up For Sale. Take A Tour and Learn About Its Dark History

Bran Castle, a 12th century Romanian fortress, is most famous for being the home of the fictional character Count Dracula. Its current owners, now in their 70s, have put the castle on the market for a reported $80 million.

Check out some pictures below (click an image to enlarge).

Over the years, the castle has housed Saxons, Hungarians, Teutonic Knights and possibly even Vlad the Impaler (the inspiration for Dracula), who is thought to have been imprisoned there sometime during the 15th century.

The castle eventually ended up back in the hands of its royal heirs, but it was seized by the oppressive Ceausescu regime when they took power in 1948 and gave the royal family 24 hours to leave the country. After the regime fell in 2006, the castle was returned to its remaining heirs.

The current owners are looking for a buyer who will continue their mission of maintaining and growing, “the largest and most significant attraction in Romania.” The castle attracts around 560,000 visitors per year.

Read more from The Telegraph here.

 

The Volcano That Erupts With Blue Lava and The Brave Men Who Mine It (Pictures and Video)

The Kawah Ijen Volcano is unlike any other volcano you have ever seen. The mountain contains high levels of pure sulfur, which burns a bright blue-violet color when the volcano erupts.

The blue lava is extremely toxic, and reaches temperatures upwards of 239° F. Also, plumes of sulfur flames can rise up to 16 feet high. Despite the grave risks, many local men make a living by trekking up the mountain to mine sulfur from the volcano’s crater, carrying it out by hand.

The miners’ average loads are usually between 180-200 lbs of sulfur. The sulfur they collect only sells for about 2.5 cents per pound, so most of the men make the trip twice every 24 hours.

Recently French photographer Olivier Grunewald traveled to the Kawah Ijen Volcano to capture the beautiful yet frightening spectacle. Check out more of his pictures below (click an image to enlarge):

Grunewald also recently teamed up with Régis Etienne, the president of Geneva’s Society of Volcanology, to produce a documentary on the mountain and the men who mine it. Watch the trailer below (the narration is in French but the images are still spectacular).

6 of The Most Breathtaking Yet Terrifying Bridges You Could Ever Cross (Pictures)

Click any of the images to enlarge them.

1. Capilano Suspension Bridge- North Vancouver, Canada

Height: 70m (230ft); Length: 137m (449ft)- This simple suspension bridge crosses the Capilano River in the Canadian province of British Columbia.

2. Hanging Bridge of Ghasa- Kushma, Nepal

Height: 70m (443ft); Length: 137m (1,128ft)- This bridge was created in the hopes of easing some of the congestion that was being caused by shepherds constantly moving their animals up and down the narrow mountain roads.

3. Aiguille du Midi Bridge- Mont Blanc, French Alps

This bridge isn’t actually all that long.. once you get up there that is. See it’s at the very top of Mont Blanc which is 3,842m (12,605ft) tall, so you have to take a vertical cable car built in 1955 which still holds the record for highest vertical ascent for a cable car. Once you get up to the bridge, the view is straight down for a mind-numbing 1,035m– that’s almost 2/3 of a mile!

4. Trift Bridge- Gadmen, Switzerland

Height: 100m (328ft); Length: 170m (558ft)- This simple suspension bridge is the longest pedestrian-only bridge in the Swiss Alps. It was built in 2004 to re-connect hikers with a remote hut made inaccessible by a retreating glacier.

5. Daedunsan Mountain Suspension Bridge- South Korea

This bridge is part of an intense hike up the mountain which also includes a number of precarious red steps. It spans 50m (164ft) and looks out over an 81m (266ft) gorge between to mountain peaks.

6. Canopy Walkway Bridge- Kakum National Park, Ghana

Height: 40m (130ft); Length: 330m (1,080ft)- The Walkway is actually a series of seven bridges made of wire rope, aluminium ladders, wooden planks, and a system of netting, it allows visitors to view the tropical rainforest canopy from an awe-inspiring perspective.