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Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming, US
Located in the Yellowstone National Park, the gorgeous spring takes its rainbow-like shades from different species of thermophile bacteria that inhabit the steaming-hot water. Stretching over 370 feet (110 meters), it is also the third largest hot spring in the world.
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Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela
Registering the world’s highest frequency of lightning, the Catatumbo lightning is a stunning weather phenomenon. Between 140 to 160 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.”
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Darvaza Crater, Turkmenistan
The Darvaza Crater is sometimes called the "Door to Hell" and it's easy to see why when night falls and burning flames are seen against the night sky. It is a natural gas crater that formed in 1971 when the gas field above it collapsed into the earth. Geologists lit it on fire so methane gas wouldn't spread and it has been alight ever since.
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Waitomo Glowworm Caves, North Island, New Zealand
Populated with the Arachnocampa luminosa glowworm species, the Glowworm Grotto can be accessed only through boat rides. The interior of the cavernous space is lit up solely by the glow of the bioluminescent insects hanging on the ceiling, creating a mesmerizing visual you need to see to believe.
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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 reaction between water and hydrogen chloride gas emitted by the volcano, which results in the formation of hydrochloric acid. Sulfur is deposited around the lake once the burning gases cool down. 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 (500 degrees Celsius).
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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 due to the presence of Dunaliella salina microalgae that inhabits the lake. Interestingly, the lake is considered safe to swim in.
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Racetrack Playa, California, US
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 their movements. After years of research, it was discovered that the movement of the rocks is due to the formation of ice sheets under it during cold nights. Only a few millimeters thick, the sheets are driven by wind, which in turn push the rocks at a speed of up to 16 feet (5 meters) per minute.
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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 underwater cavity.
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Old Faithful, Wyoming, US
Although there are hundreds of natural geysers present all around the world, Old Faithful geyser at the Yellowstone National Park is arguably one of the most popular ones. Erupting every 60 to 125 minutes, the stunning chutes of water go up to 100 to 180 feet (30 to 55 meters), lasting from 1.5 to 5 minutes. Each plume is believed to contain 3,700 to 8,400 gallons (14,000 to 32,000 liters) of boiling water.
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Spotted Lake, British Columbia, Canada
Named after its unique appearance, the lake is popular for its distinctive colorful mineral deposits, which appear as spots in the water as it evaporates during the summer. Several minerals, including magnesium sulfate, crystallize and add color to the ‘spots.’
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Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, US
The synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus) are known for being the only bioluminescent insects in the U.S. that can coordinate their flash patterns. During their mating season, which lasts two weeks every year, the forests of the Smoky Mountains are alight with hundreds of insects flashing blinking lights in a pattern. The mating season varies each year, as it depends on temperature and soil moisture. Usually, the peak mating season falls between late May and late June.
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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 oxidized iron in brine saltwater.
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Before 1963, the volcanic island of Surtsey didn’t exist. Owing to a volcanic eruption that began 426 feet (130 meters) below sea level, the island surfaced above, slowly taking its shape, until June 1967. Recent surveys indicate that the island has an area of 0.50 square miles (1.3 square km) and a height of 509 feet (155 meters) above sea level.
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Thor’s Well, Cape Perpetua, Lincoln County, Oregon, US
One of the greatest attractions in the picturesque Cape Perpetua is the Thor’s Well. It is a cavity formed on the rocky coast, where water rushes in with the waves that crash against each other, sending water up to spectacular heights. Although a great photographic location, it is advised not to get too close to the well during high tides.
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A popular hot-spring destination, Hierapolis-Pamukkale was marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. People come from all over world to bathe in the warm water in the pool-like structures. Dating back to the 2nd century B.C., the mineral-rich water bodies provide immense therapeutic benefits. The temperature of the water is generally above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius).
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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.
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Koekohe Beach, New Zealand
The Koekohe Beach is noted for huge spherical rock formations, called Moeraki Boulders, scattered all over the coast. The boulders formed on the sea bed over millions of years, collecting sediments and minerals and taking the unique round shape. The diameter of the rocks range from 1.6 to 7.2 feet (0.5 to 2.2 meters).
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Longyearbyen is the world's northernmost city and is known for its midnight sun, which never sets from April 19-Aug. 23, owing to the town’s extreme position above the Arctic Circle. On the flip side, the sun sets on Oct. 25th and does not go above the horizon for about four months.
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Riisitunturi National Park, Posio, Finland
Spread over an area of 30 square miles (77 square km), the national park takes on a unique appearance in winter, as the trees get covered by a thick coating of snow and look like tall, white minarets.
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Eternal Flame Falls, New York, US
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 stays on all-year long, it can be extinguished and re-lit.
The beach at the Welsh village lights up in an ethereal blue glow as multitudes of bioluminescent plankton gather around the eastern coast of the island of Anglesey. Seen rarely, the phenomenon only takes place when the plankton are disturbed. Late spring and early summer are the best time to see the event.
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Abraham Lake, Alberta, Canada
Created in 1972, the artificial lake located on the North Saskatchewan River is known for frozen bubbles of methane that form under the water. The lake releases methane gas, which freezes as it reaches the colder surface of the water. During winter, as the weather gets colder, the frozen bubbles stack up below the surface, leading to the formation of unique structures.
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Horsetail Falls in Yosemite National Park, US
For a few days each February, Horsetail Falls in Yosemite National Park, California, U.S., turns bright orange, resembling molten lava pouring down the cliffs. This only occurs during this time of the year, as light from the setting sun reflects on the waterfall at just the right angle, leading to this mesmerizing view.
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