Monday, January 17, 2011

8 Breathtaking Natural Wonders

The Hole in the Rock, New Zealand - Image Source

Yuanyang Rice Terraces
The Hani people’s ancestors came to this steep mountain area 2,500 years ago. In their struggle against the difficult terrain they successfully established the terraces, where they grew rice in order to make a living. The technology of developing fertile land on rugged mountain slopes didn’t spread all over China and Southeast Asia until 14th century. The creativity of the Hani people turned this mountain area into one of artistic beauty. In recognition, the Ming Dynasty emperor granted the title of ‘Skillful Sculptor’ to Hani people and their good reputation was passed down from generation to generation. At present, known as ‘land sculpture’ the terraced fields have been being officially acknowledged by UNESCO as a World Cultural and Natural Heritage site. More info..

Crescent Moon Lake Oasis
The Crescent Lake near Dunhuang in western China, is an amazing oasis in the Gobi desert. Yet this millennia old landmark may not be around much longer.The formation of the lake resulted from a geological peculiarity – the north and south slopes are higher than the east and west – and from the wind which blows from west to east. The wind initially blows in a southeasterly direction, and is then forced upwards where it rotates spirally before finally retreating in an easterly direction. As a result, the lake has never once become silted up with sand in 1000 years. More info..

Angel Falls
Angel Falls is the highest waterfall in the world, at 1,002 m, and is located in the Canaima National Park in Bolivar State, along Venezuela’s border with Brazil. It is more than 19 times higher than Niagara Falls. The uninterrupted descent of water falls 807m. More info..

The Tufa Towers of Mono Lake
In 1941, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power began diverting Mono Lake’s tributary streams 350 miles south to meet the growing water demands of Los Angeles. Deprived of its freshwater sources, the volume of Mono Lake halved, while its salinity doubled. Unable to adapt to these changing conditions within such a short period of time, the ecosystem began to collapse. The damage to the environment would be untold. Paradoxically it would leave the area eerily beautiful – like some alien backdrop from an episode of Star Trek. At some points in the year a soap-like layer forms on the top of the lake. More info..

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