Our planet Earth has many strange and often beautiful places that retain the power to inspire and mystify. They remind us that even in this age of technical and technological marvels there are still amazing places to be discovered. We extend our sincere thanks to the contributors of open source media such as wiki commons that have made access to these incredible imagespossible. (10 sitios extraños) You may also enjoy our section about Unexplained Phenomenon. As of December 2009 more than 400,000 people have already viewed this page
1. PAMUKKALE – TURKEY The strange and weirdly beautiful terraced pools of Pamukkale have been appreciated for over two millennia and yet still remain a little known wonder of the world. Thousands of years ago earthquakes, which arecommon in Turkey, created fractures that allowed powerful hot springs to bring water rich in calcium carbonate to the surface. As the water evaporated the chalky material condensed and formed layer-upon-layer of Travertine and thus slowly built up the walls over time in the same way that a stalactite forms in a cave. Apparently Pammakale means Castle of Cotton but the Greco-Romans built a townabove it called Heirapolis – meaning “Holy City” or “Sacred City”. They too recognised it as a rare and important place attributing healing powers to the milky-white waters.
Pamukkale is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the pools have been closed to the tourists that once bathed in their waters to save them from further damage.
NINE HELLS OF BEPPU – JAPAN Beppu, located onthe Japanese island of Kyūshū, is the second largest producer of geothermal water in the world. Located in the same area are the “Nine Hells” or ponds that each has its own remarkable character and colour thanks to the variety of minerals in the outflows. These “Hells” are a popular tourist attraction in Japan but are little known outside of the country. Seven of the strange geothermal springsare located in the Kannawa area and are known as: Sea or Ocean Hell (Umi Jigoku), Shaven Head Hell (Oniishibozu Jigoku), Cooking Pot Hell (Kamado Jigoku), Mountain Hell (Yama Jigoku), Devil or Monster Mountain Hell (Oniyama Jigoku,) Golden Dragon Hell (Kinryu Jigoku) and White Pond Hell (Shiraike Jigoku). Sadly, as with many incredible natural wonders, the area surrounding it has become overcommercialised and “tacky”.
Further away in the Shibaseki District are Blood - Pond Hell (Chinoike Jigoku) - shown above - and Waterspout Hell (Tatsumaki Jigoku).
5. GREAT BLUE HOLE OF BELIZE Found on both land and in the ocean throughout the Bahamas and the national waters of Belize are deep circular cavities known as Blue Holes which are often the entrances to cave networks, some ofthem up to 14 kilometres in length. Divers have reported a vast number of aquatic creatures some of which are still new to science. In addition, they’ve recorded chambers filled with stalactites and stalagmites which only form in dry caves. For the explorers this was proof that at one time, nearly 65,000 years ago, when the world was in the grip of the last major ice age, the sea level of theBahamas was up to 150 metres lower than it is today. Over time the limestone of the islands was eroded by water and vast cave networks created. When sea levels rose again about 10,000 years ago some of these collapsed inwards and the Blue
Holes were formed
The Great Blue Hole is located in the Light House Reef aproximately halfway between Long Caye and Sandbore Caye. It is about 60miles east from the mainland of Belize (city). In 1997 it was designated as a World Heritage site.
6. HELL'S DOOR – TURKMENISTAN Located in the Kara-Kum desert of Turkmenistan is the village of Darvaza (Derweze) near to where, in 1971, a team of Soviet prospectors allegedly drilled into a large chamber filled with natural gas. The roof of the cavern collapsed leaving a crater-like sinkhole...