that less -than-endangered species…tourists.
Known for decades as the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean, it’s the world’s tenth richest island for endemic plant species. And the biggest island in the Middle East 125 kilometers in length and 45 kilometers across.
Meanwhile the landscape is one of contrasts, for example, it has isolated nature preserves with dazzling wildlife (including 900 species of plants, and the famous Dragon’s Blood Tree “dracaena cinnabara” and the some of rarest birds that exist nowhere else in the world), and picturesque sandy beaches.
2. Rio Tinto, Spain
The Río Tinto (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈri.o ˈtinto], red river) is a river in southwestern Spain that originates in the Sierra Morena mountains of Andalusia. It flows generally south-southwest, reaching the Gulf of Cádiz at Huelva.
Since ancient times, a site along the river has been mined for copper, silver, gold, and other minerals. In approximately 3,000 BCE, Iberians and Tartessians began mining the site, followed by thePhoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, and Moors. After a period of abandonment, the mines were rediscovered in 1556 and the Spanish government began operating them once again in 1724. As a result of the mining, Río Tinto is notable for being very acidic (pH 2) and its deep reddish hue is due to iron dissolved in the water. Acid mine drainage from the mines leads to severe environmental problems due to the heavy metal concentrations in the river. In 1873, the multinational Rio Tinto Company was formed to operate the mines; by the end of the 20th century it had become one of the world's largest mining companies, although it no longer controls the Rio Tinto mines; these are now owned by EMED Mining plc.
3. Cappadocia, Turkey
The area is a famous and popular tourist destination, as it has many areas with unique geological, historic and cultural features.
The region is located southwest of the major city Kayseri, which has airline and railroad (railway) service to Ankara and Istanbul.
The Cappadocia region is largely underlain by sedimentary rocks formed in lakes and streams, and ignimbrite deposits erupted from ancient volcanoes approximately 9 to 3 million years ago, during the late Mioceneto Pliocene epochs. The rocks of Cappadocia near Göreme eroded into hundreds of spectacular pillars and minaret-like forms. The volcanic deposits are soft rocks that the people of the villages at the heart of the Cappadocia Region carved out to form houses, churches and monasteries. Göreme became a monastic center between 300—1200 AD.
The first period of settlement in Göreme goes back to the Roman period. The Yusuf Koç, Ortahane, Durmus Kadir and Bezirhane churches in Göreme, houses and churches carved into rocks in the Uzundere, Bağıldere and Zemi Valleys are all carriers of history that we can see today. The Göreme Open Air Museum is the most visited site of the monastic communities in Cappadocia (see Churches of Göreme, Turkey) and is one of the most famous sites in central Turkey. The complex contains more than 30 rock-carved churches and chapels, some of them have superb frescoes inside, dating from the 9th to the 11th centuries.
4. Mount Roraima
Mount Roraima (also known as Monte Roraima in Spanish and Portuguese), is the highest of the Pakaraima chain of tepui plateau in South America.:156 First described by the English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh in 1596, its 31 km2 summit area:156 is defended by 400-metre-tall cliffs on all sides. The mountain includes the triple border point of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana.:156
Mount Roraima lies on the Guiana Shield in the southeastern corner of Venezuela's 30000 km2 Canaima National Park forming the highest peak of Guyana's Highland Range. The tabletop mountains of the park are considered some of the oldest geological formations on Earth, dating back to some two billion years ago in the Precambrian.
The highest point in Guyana and the highest point of the Brazilian state of Roraima lie on the plateau, but Venezuela and Brazil have higher mountains elsewhere. The mountain's highest point is Maverick Rock, 2810 m, at the south end of the plateau and wholly within Venezuela.
5. Pamukkale Turkey
Pamukkale, meaning "cotton castle" in Turkish, is a natural site in Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey. The city contains hot springs and travertines, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. It is located in Turkey's Inner Aegean region, in the River Menderes valley, which has a temperate climate for most of the year.
The ancient Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis was built on top of the white "castle" which is in total about 2,700 metres (8,860 ft) long, 600 m (1,970 ft) wide and 160 m (525 ft) high. It can be seen from the hills on the opposite side of the valley in the town of Denizli, 20 km away.
Tourism is and has been a major industry. People have bathed in its pools for thousands of years. As recently as the mid-20th century, hotels were built over the ruins of Heropolis, causing considerable damage. An approach road was built from the valley over the terraces, and motor bikes were allowed to go up and down the slopes. When the area was declared a World Heritage Site, the hotels were demolished and the road removed and replaced with artificial pools. Wearing shoes in the water is prohibited to protect the deposits.
6. Hell's Door- Turkmenistan (Derweze)
The Derweze area is rich in natural gas. While drilling in 1971, geologists tapped into a cavern filled with natural gas. The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of about 70 metres (230 ft) at 40°15′10″N 58°26′22″E. To avoid poisonous gas discharge, it was decided to burn it off. Geologists had hoped the fire would use all the fuel in a matter of days, but the gas still burns 40 years later. Locals have dubbed the cavern "The Door to Hell".
Next to capturing the gas, flaring is safer and friendlier to the environment than releasing the methane into the atmosphere, as methane is a relatively potentgreenhouse gas with a high global warming potential of 72 (averaged over 20 years) or 25 (averaged over 100 years).
Turkmenistan plans to increase its production of natural gas. In April 2010, the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow visited the site and ordered that the hole should be closed, or other measures be taken to limit its influence on the development of other natural gas fields in the area.
7. Eye of Africa- Mauritana
This prominent circular feature, known as the Richat Structure, in the Sahara desert of Mauritania has been noted by astronauts because it is a nearly 50-kilometer-wide (30-mile-wide) bull's-eye on the otherwise rather featureless expanse of the desert. It was first observed from space by Gemini 4 astronauts McDivitt and White in June 1965. Initially mistaken for a possible impact crater, it is now thought to be an erosion of layered sedimentary rocks. However, why the structure is circular remains a mystery.
Most of the image looks yellowish, indicating sand desert. The dark brown part is bare sedimentary rocks, and within that you can see the Richat Structure, a gigantic ring structure of some 40 km in diameter. It is as large as Uchiura Bay in Hokkaido, Japan. The Richat Structure corresponding to the iris of the eye lies in a depression, and the peak of the outer rim is 485 m above sea level. The Richat Structure consists of Early Paleozoic rocks, some 600 million years old. Around the center, rocks resistant to weathering and erosion (purple and blue-green part) make 100 m high ridges, and nonresistant rocks (yellow and brown part) form valleys. These features alternate and are concentric. The Richat Structure was previously thought to have been formed by metorite impact or volcanic activity, but field surveys have demonstrated that neither are correct. The current thinking is that these features were formed by an uplift and subsequent erosion from wind and water.
8. The Great Blue Hole at Belize
A blue hole is a cave (inland) or underwater sinkhole. They are also called vertical caves. There are many different blue holes located around the world, typically in low-lying coastal regions. The best known examples can be found in Belize, the Bahamas, Guam, Australia (in the Great Barrier Reef), and Egypt (in the Red Sea).The Great Blue Hole is a large underwater sinkhole off the coast of Belize. It lies near the center of Lighthouse Reef, a small atoll 70 kilometres (43 mi) from the mainland and Belize City. The hole is circular in shape, over 300 metres (984 ft) across and 124 metres (407 ft) deep. It was formed during several episodes of Quaternary glaciation when sea levels were much lower - the analysis of stalactites found in Great Blue Hole shows that formation has taken place 153,000, 66,000, 60,000, and 15,000 years ago. As the ocean began to rise again, the caves were flooded. The Great Blue Hole is a part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a World Heritage Site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
9. The Boneyard Arizona
The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), often called The Boneyard, is a United States Air Force aircraft and missile storage and maintenance facility inTucson, Arizona, located on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. AMARG was previously Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center, AMARC, the Military Aircraft Storage and Disposal Center,MASDC, and started life after World War II as the 3040th Aircraft Storage Group.
AMARG takes care of more than 4,400 aircraft, which would make it the second largest air force in the world. An Air Force Materiel Command unit, the group is under the command of the 309th Maintenance Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. AMARG was originally meant to store excess Department of Defense and Coast Guard aircraft, but has in recent years been designated the sole repository of out-of-service aircraft from all branches of the US government.
10. Blood Falls Antarctica
Life sure turns up in the darnedest places. The latest discovery comes from Blood Falls, a rusty red discolouration on the face of the Taylor Glacier in Antarctica [that] occasionally gushes forth a transparent, briny, iron-rich liquid that quickly oxidizes and turns red, staining the ice below [Nature News].
The source of that water is an intensely salty lake trapped beneath 1,300 feet of ice, and a new study has now found that microbes have carved out a niche for themselves in that inhospitable environment, living on sulfur and iron compounds. The bacteria colony has been isolated there for about 1.5 million years, researchers say, ever since the glacier rolled over the lake and created a cold, dark, oxygen-poor ecosystem.
In the sub-glacial lake, the microbes have no chance of getting energy through photosynthesis. Instead, the microbes live off the minerals that were trapped in the lake with them, the researchers explain in the study, published in Science. It appears that energy is obtained when sulfur is cycled through different oxidation states by reacting it with iron…. The oxidized sulfur is then used to react with carbon compounds, powering the metabolism [Ars Technica].
Similar critters may have lived 600 to 800 million years ago during the harsh epoch known as “snowball Earth,” when glaciers reached into the tropics, explains study coauthor Ann Pearson. Back then, photosynthesis probably ground to a halt across the planet, and marine bacteria may have only managed to eke out a living in the same way as those living under Taylor Glacier, Pearson says. “Life in sea water, as we know it, could maintain reasonable continuity through an event like this” [New Scientist].