Categories
Nature Travel

Iran’s mesmerizing rock salt formations

Who knew salt could look like beautiful snowcones?

Mountains of rainbow-colored rock salt formations dominate the Zagros mountains of Iran.

The Jashak salt dome formed when the Persian Gulf evaporated millions of years ago and left behind massive quantities of salt.

Salt and other evaporites have since risen upward through the overlying layers of rock. Rain also washed down mountain sediment over the years which helped compact the salt glaciers.

Thanks to the monstrous salt accumulation that transpired when the ocean turned to mountains, ocean life has flourished.

Jashak salt dome
Photo: Flickr/sipos.szandra
Categories
Architecture & Design Travel

This mythical bird statue in India is the world’s largest

Jatayu Nature Park in Kerala, India, holds the largest bird sculpture on Earth, occupying about 15,000 sq feet and standing at the height of about 1200 feet above sea level. It is five times the size of the Pyramid of Giza.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation, Bengaluru

Opened in 2018 as a tourist destination, the 70-foot tall giant concrete figure pays tribute to the famed divine bird, Jatayu, from the Hindu epic Ramayan.

It was built over a decade by filmmaker and sculptor Rajiv Anchal, who wanted to make the mythology come alive.

According to the legend, this is the jungle hilltop where Jatayu once fell and injured his left wing at the location in an attempt to save Sita from the clutches of evil kidnapper Ravana.

The stone-cut eagle now serves as a tribute to nature’s splendor and a symbol for the protection of womankind. Visitors must use a passenger ropeway to reach the top.

View more of the sculpture in the videos and images below.

Jatayu
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/athulnair
Jatayu
Construction of Jatayu (2013) Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Kumar.kisalaya
Categories
Nature Travel

Meet the Eye of Earth, Croatia’s Cetina Cave Spring

The Eye of Earth is a karst spring located in Croatia’s Mount Dinara Nature Park.

The small body of water is the primary source of the Cetina River, which flows from the northwestern slopes of Dinara — 6,000 feet above sea level — down through southern Croatia.

No one knows the precise depth of the cave containing the crystal clear water, but it is suspected to be more than 300 feet deep.

This hidden gem is no easy dive or swim, though, as the water is frigid. Temperatures can go as low as 46.4F even during 95F summers.

Croatia’s Cetina Cave Spring
Croatia’s Cetina Cave Spring
Croatia’s Cetina Cave Spring
Croatia’s Cetina Cave Spring
Croatia’s Cetina Cave Spring
Categories
Nature Travel

The gorgeous Great Blue Hole of Belize

The Great Blue Hole is a flooded sinkhole that lies 50 miles off the coast of Belize. The hole is 1,000 feet wide and about 410 feet, the bottom of which is so murky and limited in oxygen it’s claimed to be unlivable for most creatures.

The Lighthouse Reef surrounding the hole is so much lighter in color that the hole visibly stands out as seen from space.

The Blue Hole formed as a limestone cave during the last glacial period. As sea levels rose, the cave collapsed and thus created the mysterious-looking blue hole.

Undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau made the site popular when he declared it one of the top diving sites in the world in 1971. It is teeming with magnificent marine life. Hello, sharks!

A team of scientists and explorers led by Richard Branson used two submarines to help map the hole for the first time in 2018.

The Blue Hole is now part of the Belize Barrier Reef System, a 190-mile-long swath of coral that UNESCO declared a World Heritage site in 1996.

Great Blue Hole of Belize
Great Blue Hole of Belize
Great Blue Hole of Belize
Great Blue Hole of Belize
Categories
Nature Travel

The story behind geological oddity Split-Apple Rock, NZ

Split Apple Rock is a rock formation located in Tasman Bay off the northern coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

Shaped like an apple that’s been sliced in half or a giant Pacman (if you prefer), this geological wonder emerged as granite from the Cretaceous period 120 million years ago.

Split Apple Rock most likely got its odd shape due to the freezing and expansion of water through the cracks of the huge boulder during one of the Ice ages. It rests on top of a bed of other rocks.

The Maori name for the rock is Tokangawhā, which means “burst open rock.” According to Maori mythology, the boulder split as a result of two Maori gods fighting to own it. The rock broke in half to compromise.

The rock remains the most popular tourist attraction during treks at Abel Tasman National Park. Visitors can see it up close on a kayak or wade to it during low tide. Some go-getters even do the splits between the rock itself. But the rock is best viewed at the beach at sunset.

spilt apple rock new zealand
spilt apple rock new zealand
spilt apple rock new zealand
Categories
Architecture & Design Travel

Impossible heights: Lighthouse of Thridrangar, Iceland

Want to get away? There’s a lighthouse off the coast of southern Iceland that sits 120 feet upward on the highest of three steep rocks. It is one of the most remote lighthouses in the world.

Built in 1939, the Thridrangar (Þrídrangar) Lighthouse, Þrídrangar means “three rock pillars,” is undoubtedly one of the most challenging lighthouses ever built. Given the swirling winds and crashing waves, climbing the precarious pillar must have been one Herculean task.

Today, Thridrangar lighthouse is only accessible by helicopter for service needs. The helipad sits on top of a jagged rock that sticks out to the Atlantic ocean.

Categories
Nature Science Travel

Natural erosion takes down famed Darwin’s Arch in the Galapagos Islands

The top of Darwin’s Arch, a rock formation located in the Galápagos Islands, collapsed into the sea from erosion.

The Ecuadorean Environment Ministry reported the destruction of the unique 141 foot high, 230-foot long rock on May 17.

“The collapse of Darwin’s Arch, the attractive natural bridge found less than a kilometer from the main area of Darwin Island, was reported,” said the ministry.

A tour group traveling with tour company Aggressor Adventures witnessed the collapse right in front of their eyes.

The natural stone bridge was named after the English biologist Charles Darwin who visited the Galápagos Islands in 1835. Among the smallest of the 19 islands in the Galápagos Archipelago, Darwin’s island is located 621 miles from the coast of Ecuador.

The island hosts a rich array of plants and wildlife, many of them endemic, including some of the largest shark communities in the world.

The rich diversity of wildlife in the surrounding areas (re: Darwin’s finches) became the cornerstone of Darwin’s theory on evolution.

Take a look back at the world-famous Darwin’s Arch before the collapse took place.

Darwin's Arch
Darwin's Arch
Darwin's Arch
Categories
Nature Photography Travel

The mushroom-shaped Kannesteinen Rock sculpted by the sea

Above the coast near Måløy, Norway exists one of the most elegant rocks you’ll ever see.

Known as the Kannesteinen Rock, the mushroom-shaped rock took thousands of years to be sculpted by the sea.

Strong westerly winds, ice, and strong waves shaped this natural wonder over time. As the waves crashed on the rock, they carved away the edges, making it look like a mushroom cloud.

The Norwegian locals, however, call the stone sculpture “kannestolen” (“stolen” means chair in Norwegian) because it resembles a one-legged chair.

The Kannesteinen Rock is quite famous, and it is not hard to see why. Although the location remains protected under Norwegian law, Instagrammers can still climb atop the rock during low tide and capture stunning photographs.

The Kannesteinen Rock is an example of how the Earth changes over time, and in this case, evolving into a more interesting and beautiful place.

Kannesteinen Rock
Kannesteinen Rock
Kannesteinen Rock
Categories
Nature Travel

Hiking Rainbow Mountain in Peru

17,000 feet above sea level in the Andres of Peru lies one of Earth’s geological wonders, Rainbow Mountain.

Vinicunca, the rainbow mountain in Peru’s Cusco region, gets its coloration from the intermixing of oxide rust — which causes the red color — and iron sulfide — which produces the orange and yellow hues.

Discovered in 2015, the rainbow mountain emerged from leftover mineral deposits from ice sheets that once filled the area. As the ice melted, the mineral deposits were exposed to the sun, causing them to oxidize and ultimately develop their vibrant colors.

How and when to hike Rainbow Mountain

Climbing the spectacular mountain requires endurance — it takes about 2 hours to get up and another 1 hour to get down. The trek to get there is a challenge in itself! But you can also hire a horse to take you up.

The best time to visit the mountain is the dry season, from May to October. The rainy season, lasting from November to April, can make it difficult to hike.

The Rainbow Mountain is a stunning geological phenomenon and one of the most spectacular sites to see in the Andes.

Rainbow Mountain in Peru
Rainbow Mountain in Peru
Rainbow Mountain in Peru
Rainbow Mountain in Peru
Categories
Nature Travel

Jimmy Chin joins Masterclass to teach adventure photography

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Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Jimmy Chin is renowned for his work with National Geographic and other outdoor adventures.

His two most recent films Meru and Free Solo are some of Discvr.blog’s most favorite adventure documentary films.

Even more, the producer has now turned teacher.

Together with the education platform Masterclass, the action photographer is now offering a once-in-a-lifetime adventure photography course.

So get ready to pack the bag and camera and hit the outdoors.

Push the limits of photography with Jimmy Chin on Masterclass

If you follow the world-renowned photographer Jimmy Chin on Instagram, you’ll know he’s a daredevil climber and mountaineer with a keen eye for landscape shots.

In this course, he’ll teach you all the techniques you need to know for capturing stunning photos.

He also details his approach for more commercial and editorial shoots as well, including the daily gear he uses to work his magic. 

“Things aren’t that interesting to me unless the stakes are very high,” says Chin in the intro class video.

In addition to urging his students to get out there, move, and shoot, Chin shares many of his own creative lessons along the way.

“Sometimes, it’s easy to get trapped into one lens…and I force myself to change the lens, change the perspective, and then to move,” advises Chin. “One scenario can look dramatically different just by moving,” he adds.

If one thing is certain in this course, you’ll learn the entire process of adventure photography from the initial concept of a shoot, to gear selection, to the final edit.

About MasterClass

Jimmy Chin joins other notable creators at MasterClass offering unique online courses. photography, writing, music production, filmmaking, and even cooking.

We would also encourage Discvr.blog readers buy the Annual Membership ($180) and take astrophysicist Neil deDrasse Tyson’s five-star course on Scientific Thinking and Communication.

Invest in your future and see where your curiosity takes you.