Kerepakupai Vená, or more commonly known as Angel Falls, is located in Canaima National Park, Venezuela. This immensely large waterfall flows from the mesa mountain tops, pouring into the dense jungles of the Venezuelan national park. “Now Nate, why is this waterfall so important to you?!” you might be asking. Well, I’m obviously going to tell you.
Not only is this waterfall located in one of the most beautiful national parks in South America (and the world for that matter), but it is also the largest waterfall in the world. The world’s largest uninterrupted waterfall plunges water 3,212 feet, almost 2/3 of a mile in height. The water falls over the edge of the Auyantepui Mountain (“tepuy” is flat mountain top ending in a vertical drop off, translating “house of gods”) into the Gauja River, inevitably flowing into the Carrao River at the southeast corner of the nation. From afar the waterfall appears as one great fall, but after a closer examination, the water flows through a maze of canyons, tunnels, and caves before finally ending in a below water run-off.
Although Angel Falls seems like a fitting name given to this monstrous natural phenomenon, it was actually named for the American aviator, Jimmie Angel, who flew through the Venezuelan fog for miles in search of a valuable ore bed until finally coming across this beautiful panoramic spectacle in the 1930s. The falls accurately adopted Angel’s name, yet Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez found this disrespectful to the natives who named this waterfall hundreds of years before any American laid eyes on it. Because of the mountain’s vast height, the only source of water the falls receive is from rainfall, therefore in the dry season (December-March) the waterfall may consist of only trickles of water dropping thousands of feet, when in the wet seasons the waterfall will blasts thousands of gallons of water a day from its peak. This colossal waterfall is a monument of nature’s enormity of beauty.
Located in Tanzania, Africa is one of the most interestingly eerie lakes in all of the world. The lake appears to be a desolate water source where animals rarely go, and there is a good reason for this. This lake seems to come right out of fairy tale, as its characteristics are somewhat out of the ordinary for my blog’s theme. This nonetheless does not make this natural entity something not worth noting. It is a natural beauty, in a disturbing sense, though.
The lake is very shallow, not even reaching a maximum depth of 10 feet. Because of Africa’s harsh climatic environments, the lake is constantly subjected to evaporation, which account for its shallow depth. Similarly the waters can reach an average temperature of about 140 degrees Fahrenheit, turning away most animals from drinking here, yet this also means that very unique bacteria and other adaptive organisms use these waters to their advantage. The lake is filled with high levels of minerals as the alkalinity of the waters can cause the pH of the lake to reach 10.5 (as basic as ammonia). These drastically harsh conditions mean impeding death for most animals who come near it (but in a rather unorthodox way).
The water’s alkalinity come from sodium carbonate and other minerals from the surrounding hills. Interestingly sodium carbonate is the same compound used by the Egyptians to mummify their deceased. The lake’s extremely basic waters combined with other harsh minerals calcify most of the animals who attempt to rest near it. The lake may seem like an appealing place to wade and drink in this hot climate because of the uninhabitable waters, but they are uninhabitable for a specific reason. The lake has been known to completely calcify birds, bats, flamingos, and even eagles to the point where they resemble statues. This eerily beautiful lake is a prime example of the disturbingly grotesque forms of some natural environments in the world.
Cano Cristales is a Colombian River located in the Meta province of Colombia. Like always, you are probably asking what makes this river a unique, natural beauty fitting to be put into my weekly blog. Ill give you a few common nicknames of the river and then maybe you can guess why it is so unique: “The Most Beautiful River in the World”, “The River of Five Colors”, and “The Liquid Rainbow”. Obviously if a river is commonly referred to as The Liquid Rainbow then it qualifies to be in this blog.
The river is home to 1,200 million-year-old sedimentary rocks that break off from the unique surrounding Colombian/Amazonian ecosystem. The rocks accumulated an abundance of flora and fauna over millions of years which brought about a diversity of bacteria, germs, minerals, and other microscopic wonders. The river is home to many various aquatic plants and corals, a biodiversity not seen anywhere else on the entire planet. The Cano Cristales is located on a remote island, not easily accessible by road. The river is harshly monitored and was, for the past years, not available for tourists because of terrorist activity in the area. The region is drastically under environmental surveillance as it is a highly prized habitat and natural beauty.
For most of the year the river is populated with a dull green moss, but there is a small section of the year when the temperature in this area reaches a dry, warm climate. The level of the water, accompanied with the temperature of the environment, allows the moss, bacteria, and minerals to thrive and produce an abundance of colors. The river produces an array of red, purple, black, green, yellow, and blue colors of plants, bacteria, and minerals which make this an outstanding natural beauty.
Gruner See, translated Green Lake, is located in Styria, Austria near the town of Tragöß. Green Lake is nestled right in the middle of the Hochschwab mountains and forest linings and is home to many hiking trails and beautiful scenery, all varying year-round. The lake’s crystal clear, emerald-green waters give rise to its name and adequately so.
Now you might be wondering why I chose this seemingly ordinary natural beauty and the answer speaks for itself when something extraordinary happens to the lake in the summer months. In the winter, the lakes depths can reach a minimum of about 3-5 feet and usually averaging near-frozen temperatures of about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The lake’s source of clean water comes from occasional snowmelt runoff from the neighboring mountains. Yet, when summer hits and the temperature starts to rise, a massive amount of snow melts from the Hochschwab mountains causing the lake to reach a maximum depth of about 40 feet. Not only does the water’s depth increase, but the diameter as well. There is enough snowmelt from the mountains that the hiking trails within the bordering forests become consumed by the crystal clear waters. Benches, trails, trees and bridges all become engulfed in a seasonal pool of the emerald green waters, making this a highly visited location by divers in the early summer months.
This perfectly located lake is a prime example of the varying natural beauties in the world. Without the lake’s specific location, bordering mountains and trees, seasonally varying temperature spikes, and the area’s overall unpolluted land and water, this seasonally natural phenomenon would not be possible. I liked this natural beauty because it shows how varying the environment can be within certain parts of the world between different seasons. Nature can change throughout the year just as animals and humans do in order to adapt to the fluctuating world around us.
Socotra Island is located off the eastern coastal horn of Africa, officially in the nation of Yemen. Due to its isolated location, 30% of the plant life on the island doesn’t grown anywhere else in the world. The island has been described as one of the most alien-looking places on earth for its abundance of botany biodiversity.
Socotra Island is home to some of the most diverse plant life on earth, making it the most unique landmasses on the planet. United Nation biologists have deemed over 700 endemic species of plants exist on this island that are present nowhere else on earth. Only three other islands on earth have similar statistics. Because of the harsh equatorial temperatures and severe drought seasons, this island has produced some of the most rare plant forms to ever exist on earth. One of the most unique plants that the island has to offer is the dragon’s blood tree which has red sap that the ancients believed to have actual dragon’s blood coming from the plant. This bright red pigment has been used as paint and dye for centuries. This isolated island is also home to many endemic species of animals, for example, many types of endangered birds live here, uncommon amphibians, and unusual reptiles live throughout this island.
Many tourists sites have been restricted over the past couple years due to its endangered biodiversity. Its unpolluted tendencies help make the coastal waters crystal clear and untainted. The natives are said to be very considerate and one of the kindest cultures on the planet. It is one of the hidden gems of the earth which offers a unique taste of fauna and flora life (both on land and below the Indian Sea) that cannot be experienced anywhere else on the planet. This island is definitely one of the most exclusive forms of biodiversity this part of the earth has ever and will ever see.