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뉴질랜드 이야기/World Travel

Most mysterious places on earth

by 뉴질랜드고구마 2011. 12. 30.

Most mysterious places on earth

Salar de Uyuni is a magical place, Bolivia wildlife

When covered by water, the world's largest salt flat becomes a mirror, and anyone walking across it appears to be walking on clouds. The salt crust, which covers 10 583 square kilometres in southwestern Bolivia at 11,995 feet above sea level, is nearly flat, which makes it ideal for calibrating the altimeters of satellites. Salar de Uyuni's origins lie in prehistoric lakes; it is a major breeding ground for several species of flamingos.

There are many different types of animals in Bolivia that can be found throughout the country. Bolivia is home to thousands of species of animals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects.

Wildlife in Bolivia is diverse, from the high peaks of the Andes to the tropical rainforests of the Amazon, to the Pantanal wetlands and the arid scrublands and grasslands of the Gran Chaco, Bolivia's extraordinary range of geography and climate supports one of the most diverse wildlife countries in the world.

The Eye of Africa
whose official name, the Richat Structure, seems so mundane in comparison — was spotted in central Mauritania by astronauts on early space missions. In the expanse of the Western Sahara Desert, the formation has a diameter of about 48 kilometres. At first, scientists thought a meteorite had hit the Earth, causing this impression. But now it is believed to be a symmetrical uplift that erosion has revealed. No one has explained yet why it is circular.

The Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland

If an Irishman tells you that Finn McCool built the Giants Causeway so two feuding giants could settle their differences, check for a twinkle in his eyes, for perhaps he has been telling you a folk tale. Volcanic activity 60 million years ago created these rugged, symmetrical rock formations, seemingly steppingstones that lead into mists and legend. In 1693, Sir Richard Bulkeley, a fellow at Trinity College in Dublin, presented a paper on this "natural curiosity" near Bushmills in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The arguing began: Was this made by men with picks? Was this nature's handiwork? Did a giant place these steppingstones? It wasn't until 1771 that the origin of the causeway was put down to volcanic activity. Or was it?

Irish mythical creatures
Irish fairies fall into two main groups: sociable and solitary. Perhaps the best known of the solitary fairies are the leprechauns. Leprechauns have the distinction of being the most solitary of the solitaries, avoiding contact with humans, other fairies and even other leprechauns.

Although the leprechaun has been described as Ireland's national fairy, this name was originally only used in the north Leinster area. Variants include lurachmain, lurican and lurgadhan. The ancient origins of what we know today as the leprechaun was a Euro-Celtic god named Lugh (pronounced "Luck"). Lugh was as important a god to the ancient Euro-Celtic religion as Jesus is in Christianity. Lugh was the great Sun God of the Irish and Euro-Celts, patron of the Arts and Crafts, leader of the Tuatha dé Danaan. Many European cities were named for Lugh such as London, Léon, Loudon, Lyons and others.

Racetrack Playa, Calif.

The secrets of these stone structures are only now being unravelled, probably because it is nearly impossible to get the entire picture at ground level. But with views from airplanes and satellites, archeologists have discovered thousands of these "floor drawings" of stones in Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The wheels measure from 25 metres to 70 metres across and could be at least 2,000 years old; other stone structures are far older. What were they used for? Did they carry special meaning? That is still yet to be discovered.

Even NASA cannot explain it. It's best to gaze in wonder at the sliding rocks on this dry lake bed in Death Valley National Park. Racetrack Playa is almost completely flat, four kilometres from north to south and two kilometres from east to west, and covered with cracked mud. The rocks, some weighing hundreds of pounds, slide across the sediment, leaving furrows in their wakes, but no one has actually witnessed it. Is it the wind? Something to do with ice? Will it ever be explained?

Spotted Lake, Canada national park

Parks Project, a compilation of 13 short films about Canada's national parks ... Daniel Cockburn's movie about Bruce Peninsula National Park seeks a spiritual mystery.

Many minerals are found in high concentrations in Spotted Lake; that causes the phenomenon that gives the lake its name. Spots form during summer when much of the water evaporates, leaving the minerals, which harden and form walkways among the spots. The water's colour is determined by the unique combination of minerals. The site, near Osoyoos in British Columbia, is owned by the First Nations and is not open to the public. However, it can be easily seen from Highway 3, which runs past the lake.

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Pamukkale, Turkey
Cotton Castle, Pamukkale's translated name, is a wildly popular tourist site. Seventeen hot-water springs in the area spill out water in temperatures ranging from 95 degrees to 212 degrees, which contains a high concentration of calcium bicarbonate. The water flows off a cliff, cools and hardens into calcium deposits that form terraces. These terraces are as white as cotton and bright enough to be easily seen from the town of Denizli, which is on the opposite side of the valley, 19 kilometres away. The terraces, which continue to grow, hold pools of water. Soakers are welcome; shoes are not, to protect the deposits.

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Split Apple Rock, New Zealand

Why do so many insist on clambering atop one side or the other of Split Apple Rock, while the less athletically inclined relax at its core? The formation is a big hit with visitors to Abel Tasman National Park on the South Island of New Zealand. It is just one of the highlights in the park, which was founded in 1942, 300 years after Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman became the first European to visit New Zealand. Tourists are lured by golden sandy beaches and rocky outcrops and the likelihood of spotting many birds.

The sand of Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape) 

beach in Croatia is continually on the move, as wind, tides and currents sculpt the beach into ever-varying shapes. (Don't worry — these changes are subtle and sunbathers are not washed away). The beach is a sand spit extending from a promontory near Bol, on the southern coast of the island of Brac. The same winds that subtly change the shape of the spit are the fuel for windsurfing adventures.

Goblins? Hoodoos
The names fit these mysterious-looking rock formations in Goblin Valley State Park in southern Utah, which is surrounded on three sides by Canyonlands and Capitol Reef national parks and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Sandstone erosion made the shapes; the small, spherical shapes of the goblins combine with the hoodoos, rock pinnacles in the shape of mushrooms, to give the landscape an eerie edge.

Mono Lake, Calif.
"In the middle distance there rests upon the desert plain what appears to be a wide sheet of burnished metal, so even and brilliant is its surface. It is Lake Mono." So wrote Israel C. Russell in the Quaternary History of the Mono Valley in 1889. Much of the ancient saline lake hasn't changed. Mono Lake, which covers more than 181 square kilometres, has no fish. It is believed the lake could be one million to three million years old, and it is among the oldest lakes in North America. one thing that has changed here as the landscape makes the transition from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Great Basin Desert is the appearance of tufa, unusual rock formations that crowd the shore. The tufa towers are limestone and grow underwater; they are exposed because the lake grew more shallow when water diversions started in 1941.

Great Blue Hole, Belize

In 1971, Jacques Cousteau boldly sailed his ship, Calypso, to the Great Blue Hole, investigated and declared it one of the 10 best diving sites in the world. It's a large underwater sinkhole near the centre of Lighthouse Reef, about 100 kilometres from Belize City. So much for the mystery. The circular hole is nearly 305 metres across and 125 metres deep, boasting underwater caves, fantastic coral formations and many species of tropical fish darting through the clear water.

Shilin Stone Forest, China
An old local saying says, "If you have visited Kunming without seeing the Stone Forest, you have wasted your time." The Shilin Stone Forest covers 96,000 acres with large and small stands of stone "trees." They actually are karst formations that stand on the earth like stalagmites and looking like petrified trees. Believed to be more than 270 million years old, the stone trees emerged as limestone eroded. Legend says this is the birthplace of Ashima, who was forbidden to marry the man she loved, drowned and turned to stone in the forest. The Torch Festival celebrates her each year.

Mud volcanoes, Azerbaijan.

Take what you know about volcanoes and imagine mud volcanoes. Rather than hot lava, steam, ash and rocks, mud volcano eruptions involve cold mud, water and gas. Nearly 400 mud volcanoes, more than half of the world total, are found in Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea. The most common have several small cones or vents and average about four metres high. Just be aware: In 2001, a mud volcano about nine miles from Baku, Azerbaijan's capital, erupted with enough force to send flames hundreds of feet into the sky and spew tons of mud.

Moaning Cavern, Vallecito, Calif.
The sounds echoing through the cavern might be unnervingly like a human moan. But the sound is created by water dripping into holes in the bottom of the formation, which causes a drumming sound that echoes off the walls and is carried out of the Moaning Cavern's natural entrance by the wind. Gold miners came upon this cavern in 1851 (it is near Angels Camp), but it has been known about for far longer; some of the oldest human remains known in the Americas were found here.

Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand.

The Moeraki Boulders are a big attraction, found on Koekohe Beach near Moeraki on New Zealand's coast. The huge, gray, spherical stones formed in sediment on the sea floor 60 million years ago and were revealed by shoreline erosion. Or, if you take the local Maori perspective, they are the remains of calabashes (gourds), kumaras (sweet potatoes) and eel baskets that washed ashore when the legendary canoe Araiteuru was wrecked. Either way, the boulders, some of which stand alone and some in clusters, can weigh several tons and measure three metres across.