Posted: 09/04/13 EDT
These Natural Wonders Are Insanely Beautiful (PHOTO
Oh, nature. Sometimes it’s a little too easy to forget how crazy, amazing and humbling our planet is.
From the the peaks of China’s floating mountains to the depths of the Great Blue Hole, there are some natural phenomena that can help us truly appreciate the big old marble we’re living on.
So, without further ado, here are 17 natural wonders to make you say “wow.”
If you get a touch of wanderlust, click on the names to jump to a map for all of your travel-planning needs (or just check out the satellite view).
Yucatan Cenotes — Mexico
Cenotes are natural sinkholes found throughout Mexico that form when the roof of an underground cavern collapses. Many of them are connected via a string of underwater rivers that create some of the most striking subterranean scuba diving you’ve ever seen.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park — Hunan, China
The Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is filled with incredible sandstone columns stretching thousands of feet into the sky. The pillars were worn away by erosion over thousands of years, and one of them was renamed the “Avatar Hallelujah Mountain” in honor of the similarly named film.
The Great Blue Hole — Belize
The Great Blue Hole is just that, a massive underwater sinkhole stretching 1,000 feet across and 412 feet deep, surrounded by a ring of coral reefs. Jacques Cousteau declared the site one of the world’s top 10 scuba diving destinations in 1971.
The Salar de Uyuni — Bolivia
The Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat, an arid surface of minerals stretching for miles that turns into the one of theplanet’s largest mirrors during the rainy season.
Skaftafell National Park — Iceland
Svartifoss waterfall in Skaftafell National Park was formed as dark lava columns were worn away by erosion. The columns wereformed inside a lava flow that cooled very slowly.
Pamukkale Travertine Pools — Turkey
These travertine pools in Pamukkale, Turkey were formed by a series of hot springs that created these petrified waterfalls. They have remained a popular tourist destination ever since being claimed by the Turkish and Roman empires in the 2nd century B.C.