Sandstone pinnacles rising hundreds of feet straight into the air, capped off by 16th century Greek Orthadox monasteries? Is that something you might be looking for? Such a place exists, and it’s called Meteora. (Not to be confused with the Linkin Park album, which as far as I’m aware, has nothing to do with monasteries or sandstone … or Greece.)
Take a long look at that picture and tell me you wouldn’t want to be there right now. Aside from a season of Survivor, Palau remains mostly paradise on Earth. There’s an interesting phenomenon in Palau known as Jellyfish Lake. The lake, once open to the ocean, closed up allowing for an amazing reproduction of Jellyfish. On the flip side, the lake has a layer of hydrogen sulfide beneath the surface which, after coming into contact with, would make someone’s day pretty horrible.
Niagara Falls has nothing on Iguaçu Falls. The waterfall system consists of 275 falls along 2.7 kilometres (1.67 miles) of the Iguaçu River. Most of the falls are about 210 feet in height, and the average water falling over Iguaçu in peak flow has a surface area of about 40 ha (1.3 million ft²). The falls were also featured in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
This is one of those things you hope is true. While not necessarily an amazing landscape, the story and legends of Oak Island bring out the Goonies in all of us. The long and the short of it is, there may or may not be a horde of pirate treasure buried in a pit on the island. (Some say the Holy Grail could be buried there too.) What we do know is over 200 years ago, some children found a depression on the island, started digging, and found a layer of flagstone a few feet down. Excavation continued with more discoveries of logs, charcoal, and coconut fiber, all placed there, seemingly, by humans. Pirates were known to sail the waters off of Nova Scotia, and it’s not unreasonable to assume that the treasures of Blackbeard of Captain Kidd are under the island. The things is, digging has been anything but easy. A series of traps have caused the pit to flood. People have died. And millions of dollars have been invested to get to the bottom of the hole. And after 200 years, no one knows what’s still down there.
Have a thing for hexagons? How about basalt hexagonal columns? There’s no better place to find such a rarity than at the Giant’s Causeway.
Folklore has it that the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool) built the causeway to walk to Scotland to fight his Scottish counterpart, Benandonner. The more accurate, but less fun story behind the causeway states that during the Paleogene period, the region was subject to intense volcanic activity, when highly fluid molten basalt intruded through chalk beds to form an extensive lava plateau. As the lava cooled rapidly, contraction occurred. While contraction in the vertical direction reduced the flow thickness (without fracturing), horizontal contraction could only be accommodated by cracking throughout the flow. The extensive fracture network produced the distinctive columns seen today. The basalts were originally part of a great volcanic plateau called the Thulean Plateau which formed during the Paleogene period. A similar structure, known as Fingal’s Cave, can be found in Scotland.
The Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest unbroken, unflooded volcanic caldera and the closest you may come to the Garden of Eden. What’s more, and because of its naturally occurring borders, it houses an amazing array of plant and animal life. There is even speculation that life on Earth originated from the extinct volcano. There are lodges and safaris touring the crater, and if you can get your hands on a ticket to East Africa, I’m sure you’ll find your money well spent. So, if you want to get up close and personal with zebras, black rhinos, and wildebeest, consider Ngorongoro to be nature’s drive-thru safari.