In appreciation of Earth Month, and following on from my article on 5 must-see natural phenomenons here is a list of the more obscure natural wonders that hide away on this beautiful planet of ours. Obviously they aren't completely obscure, as anything this amazing is bound to be recognised by a lot of people, but they are not anywhere near as appreciated as they should be. As with my last article, these are in no particular order, as it's too difficult to choose between them!
5. Marble Caves
Lake General Carrera (Chile), or Lake Buenos Aires (Argentina) is located in Patagonia, where Argentina and Chile share this beautiful stretch of water. More stunning than this glacial lake surrounded by the Andes, however, is the huge block of marble in the centre of Lake General Carrera. This block of marble is estimated to weigh around 5 billion tons, and over 6,000 years the water movement has eroded the marble to form incredible features within the rock. An intricate series of tunnels and caves dwell inside the block of marble, and between them lie huge caverns that look truly incredible. Such is the beauty of these caverns that the two largest have been named the Marble Chapel and the Marble Cathedral. The colour created by the marble and the water reflecting off each other give these caves a heavenly appearance.
4. Ha Long Bay,
Next on our list of obscure natural wonders is Ha Long Bay. Located in the Quang Ninh province in north eastern Vietnam, this bay is made up of thousands of limestone islands which run along the coastline. This makes appear to be an offshore forest of rocks, especially since each of these islands is covered in thick jungle vegetation. This jungle vegetation is home to several species of animals that call these beautiful islands their home, and find nourishment from the copious vegetation and the abundance of natural lakes that have formed on the islands. As if that isn't enough, some of the limestone pillars are hollow, and hence have spectacular water caves covered in stalagmites and stalactites to explore. The heights of these islands can range from 50 metres to 100 metres tall, with the vast majority of them being taller than they are wide.
3. Salar de Uyumi
Salar de Uyumi, located in south west Bolivia, is the largest salt flat in the world, covering a huge 4,086 square miles of ground. As it is also a part of the Andes, it lies at an impressive 12,000 feet above sea level. A thin layer of water on the surface of the vast expanse of flat salt creates the illusion of earth and sky merging into one, giving it an almost heavenly appearance. It is estimated that Salar de Uyumi harbours upwards of 10 billion tons of salt and up to 70% of Earth's lithium reserves.
2. Lac Rose
Lac Rose, also known as Lake Retba, is located in Senegal in north west Africa. What makes this lake stand out from a world full of lakes is the fact that it's a beautiful shade of pink! This is caused by an algae named Dunaliella salina, which produces a pink pigment that mixes with the water in the lake. Lac Rose is similar to the Dead Sea in that it is extremely saline, meaning people can easily float around in this gorgeous pink water. Lac Rose is so unique that it is under consideration to be named a World Heritage Site.
Last on the list of more obscure, amazing natural wonders is Cano Cristales, also known as 'The Liquid Rainbow' or 'The River of Five Colours'. As the nicknames suggest Cano Cristales, in Columbia, is a massively colourful river that amazes all that see it. The river is completely devoid of all fish, and it's only inhabitants are plant species and coral systems. One of these endemic plants is known as Macarenia clavigera, and is the dominant floral species of Cano Cristales. This water dwelling plant is responsible for one of the most beautiful water features in the world. Between late July and December Macarenia clavigera flowers and turns a brilliant shade of red, this merges with the clear blue water and the green and yellow sediment underneath to create a magnificent spectacle of colour-changing waters. To put this into perspective, this is commonly referred to as the most beautiful river on the planet, high praise indeed!