Nature is full of some pretty cool stuff - from giant mountain chains to wide-stretched deserts to rain forests, no can question the awesomeness of nature. But these things are nothing compared to the most awesome natural wonders out there.
As is evident from some of the incredibly amazing things found around the world, mother nature, like the rest of us, occasionally gets bored and enjoys a massive game of natural Minecraft, where she spends millions of years building the most awesome things she can think of (and seriously, who among us haven't done the same during a rainy day?)
The results of this are what top the list of the most awesome natural wonders of the world:
Tsingy de Bemaraha
With all our crazy exploratory expeditions and advanced technology, you'd expect the entire world to be completely explored by now. Because seriously, we've been everywhere from the bottom of the ocean to the god damn moon - there couldn't possibly be any place left on this planet we cannot get to.
Except there totally is.
Introducing: Tsingy de Bemaraha.
What is it?
Meet Tsingy de Bemaraha - a national park in western Madagaskar. Due to the extremely inhospitable environment of this area, most of the park remains completely unexplored to this day. And that's not because of a lack of interest in the place; over the years, science expeditions who have managed to explore parts of it have been known to find at least 5 new species of animal life on every expedition - and they expect the total number of unknown species in the area to be in the tens of thousands.
So why hasn't the park been thoroughly searched through yet?
Because Tsingy de Bemaraha is basically Earth's horrible, horrible teeth, that's why.
You see, almost the entire area is composed of spiky limestone formations - and they aren't just the kind that looks spiky from above - these are just as horribly deadly up close. The surface of these giant rock formations is covered by razor sharp spikes of all sizes, which can, and will, cut you. This place is actually so dangerous that even experienced excavation teams are afraid of going anywhere near it.
Some have tried during the years though, leading to the deaths of several people during minor expeditions in this area - and not because of what you'd expect would kill people on science expeditions (like other, evil, expeditions with guns who want all the glory of your findings). No, a lot of people have died here by making just the smallest mistake, leading to them slipping ever so lightly and receiving lethal cuts from basically just touching the rocks.
All in all, this park has the highest statistical death rate on the planet amongst people who venture there.
Grand Prismatic Spring
What is it?
Hot springs are pretty cool - they combine all the awesomeness of swimming outdoors with the sweet comfort of a hot bath. They're basically nature's way of telling us that it doesn't truly hate us that much after all (despite some evidence suggesting otherwise).
And among the hot springs of the world are some special ones that stand out from the rest. Perhaps the most noticeable one is the Grand Prismatic Spring, which, if hot springs were people, would be the equivalent of a 60's hippie who's stoned out of his mind.
I think the picture speaks pretty much for itself on this one.
The Grand Prismatic Spring, located in the Yellowstone National Park, is by far the largest hot spring in the United states, and among the top three in the world. However, this spring wasn't happy with just being third, and decided to increase its awesomeness in its own little way - by adding colors. Lots and lots of colors.
The entire spring is like a big, circular rainbow, with colors ranging from dark blue to bright orange. And it looks just magical. So, fancy a swim in this liquid rainbow? Go right ahead - if you don't mind getting poisoned:
The beautiful colors of this hot spring are caused by huge amounts of various bacteria, which reflect light of varying color. And, as most people already know, bacteria = bad. The only part of this wonder of nature that isn't completely riddled with poisonous bacteria is the very center, which is completely sterile. But taking a swim there isn't recommended either, since you'd be boiled alive pretty much instantly by the extreme heat.
The Eye of Sahara
Since I've already included the teeth of the Earth on this list, it's only approriate to include the planet's eye - The Richat Structure. Or, as it's commonly known; The Eye of Sahara.
What is it?
The Eye of Sahara is basically a giant, 40km-in-diameter dome in the middle of the Sahara desert. Its origin is still being debated, with theories ranging anyhere from geological eroding, to a meteorite crash site, to the all-seeing eye of the giant space monster we call "Earth".
Again, I'm going to let the picture do most of the talking here. With its width of over 40 kilometers, the Eye of Sahara stands as one of the few Earthly things visible from space. And this is also how it was discovered - the Eye was pretty much unknown to the world until astronauts first reported a giant weird-looking round thing in the middle of Sahara, where there should have been nothing but sand.
Salar de Uyuni
What is it?
Located at an altitude of close to 12,000 feet in southwest Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni is truly a natural wonder worthy of recognition.
With a total size of over 10,000 square kilometers, Salar de Uyuni is by far the largest salt flat in the world. The entire area is covered by a several meters thick crust of salt, and, thanks to rain dissolving the top layers, it has over time become the flattest surface on the planet, with the maximum variations in altitude being smaller than one meter across the entire area.
This place is actually so flat that observation satellites use it for calibration purposes (instead of the frikkin ocean).
And while this could all be considered fairly interesting by some (cough, nerds, cough), it hardly makes it awesome enough to put it on this list. So why is it here, you ask? Because of what happens to it when it rains.
Whenever it rains, the extremely flat salt surface of Salar de Uyuni partially dissolves and becomes highly reflective, turning the entire area into a single, gigantic mirror. And I'm not talking about the kind of lame mirror a lake can form when it's completely still - Salar de Uyuni actually becomes so reflective, its surface could rival the mirrors we have at home. With the exception of it being about a hundred million times larger.
The Gates of Hell
This awesomely named location is the only wonder on this list that was caused more by man than by nature. And although that technically disqualifies it form being counted as a natural wonder, it's just too damn awesome not to be included in this list.
What is it?
Back in the days when the Soviet Union was still a thing, a large deposit of natural gas was found in Soviet-controlled Derweze, Turkmenistan. The Soviets, naturally, set out to extract everything they could from this valuable deposit, and soon had a whole operation up and running. But almost immediately after setting up a drilling rig in the area, the ground collapsed and formed a giant crater in the ground.
Normally, this sort of thing wouldn't have been too big a problem - they could always just build a new rig and start over again. Except in this case, large amounts of highly flammable and explosive natural gas kept pouring out of the crater at an alarming rate.
This is when the stroke of genius was made:
The Soviets, being too lazy to just cover the hole back up, decided that there must be an easier way to solve this highly flammable problem. And since in Russia, "flammable" is just a fancy way of saying "burn that sh*t!", an idea was formed, and they decided to add fire and see what would happen.
So they went ahead and set the whole thing ablaze. Because seriously, what could possibly go wrong with that plan?
As it turns out, A lot.
What the Soviet scientists believed to be a somewhat minor leak turned out to be just a bit bigger than they thought. Their estimates expected the gas to have burned out in a matter of days, thus making it little more than a pretty cool bonfire for that time.
And they were partly right - it did make a pretty cool fire. It just never went out.
Today, over 40 years later, the Gates of Hell are still burning - and it's showing no signs of stopping any time soon.