The Hopewell Rocks is a series of sandstone pillars along the coast of the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada.
The unique-looking rock formations, cliffs, and coves result from centuries of tidal erosion, yet another reminder of how nature crafts its own beauty.
Home to the highest tides in the world
The tides at the Hopewell Rocks are actually the highest globally, reaching nearly 50 feet tall and washing ashore 100 billion tons of water twice a day. The inlet’s ebb and flow of waves create a ‘bathtub effect.’
Amazingly, the inlet is still walkable at low tide. During the summer season, tourists can walk the ocean floor in the morning and even kayak on the same day.
Mount Roraima is a tabletop mountain located in the deep rainforest of Venezuela’s Canaima National Park. It serves as the tripoint of Venezuela, Guyana, and Brazil.
Mount Roraima forms the highest peak of the Pakaraima chain of Tepuis plateaus in South America, standing 9,200 feet with a 12-square-mile summit area and 1,300-foot tall cliffs. It’s no wonder that Roraima and the surrounding highlands look like islands floating in the sky on a cloudy day.
Mount Roraima is one of the oldest geological formations on Earth
A roaring beauty that dates back two billion years to the Precambrian era, Mount Roraima is often referred to as the lost world. Dinosaurs likely roamed this high and flat land, which remains rich in unusual species of plants and animals.
At the top of the mountain are rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and caves, looking like a picturesque scene out of Jurassic Park.
Certain tree species in the forest resist touching each other as they grow, a natural event known as crown shyness.
Here’s an aerial view of the jigsaw-like spacing.
What explains the puzzle piece-shaped canopy?
More than one theory explains why social distancing amongst the trees occurs.
Scientists suggest that the channel-like gaps between the treetops emerge because of mutual light-sensing among the crowns of the trees. The intercrown spacing increases light reception for the leaves, resulting in beautiful patterns in the canopy.
Preventing encroachment also reduces the spread of disease and wards off leaf-eating harmful insects.
The collaborative effort to avoid touching its neighbor’s foliage ensures the safety and survival of all nearby trees. Talk about respecting one’s personal space!
Are you searching for your next getaway? 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.
Constructed 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 to build the lighthouse must have been one Herculean task. The mountaineers climbed on top of each other’s backs to reach the cliff’s perch. There were no suitable helicopters at the time.
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 North Atlantic ocean.
The Grandidier’s Baobabs (Palmate adansonia) are giant trees indigenous to Africa. Nicknamed the “mother of the forest,” this species of Baobab trees is predominantly found off Africa’s mainland in the island country of Madagascar.
Baobabs can live up to 800 to 1000 years with their unique ability to act as water storage tanks. The trees can store up to 32 gallons of water in their thick trunks.
The heart of many African remedies and folklore, the iconic Baobab is often referred to as the “Tree of Life.” Both the animals and locals tap the trees for H20 during the dry season. The resilient trees are also resistant to termites and fire.
The 80-plus foot trees average a circumference of 108 feet and appear “upside down” since the tops of the trees look like roots. They also feature on a 250-meter path called the Avenue of the Baobabs in Madagascar’s Menabe region. The tree is famous for producing surreal white, bat-pollinated flowers as well.
“A Caliban of a tree, grizzled, distorted old goblin with the girth of a giant, the hide of a rhinoceros, twiggy fingers clutching at empty air and the disposition of a guardian angel,” once wrote the Australian novelist Ernestine Hill about the Baobab’s immensity.
Unfortunately, baobab trees are at risk of extinction due to climate change, with more than ten thousand disappearing yearly.
Pink sea urchins house five teeth, each supported by a separate jaw in a circular arrangement at the center of their spiked spherical bodies.
But researchers at Northwestern have discovered that the teeth of pink sea urchins are specially equipped to self-sharpen themselves.
The tooth enamel breaks off regularly to sustain precision, like a knife sharpening upon a blade.
“The material on the outer layer of the tooth exhibits a complex behavior of plasticity and damage that regulates ‘controlled’ chipping of the tooth to maintain its sharpness,” said Northwestern University Professor Horacio Espinosa.
The sea urchins continue to grow teeth throughout life, helping the sea urchins ward off predators.
Lake Hillier located off the south coast of Western Australia (Middle Island) is an iconic lake known for its vivid pink color.
Scientists postulate that the lake’s solid bubblegum color results from the intermixing of Halobacteria and a salt-tolerant algae species called Dunaliella Salina.
When mixed with salt-tolerant microalgae, the bacteria produce red pigments that create a stunning strawberry milkshake color. The chemical reactions between the salt and the microorganisms also make the lake ten times saltier than the ocean nearby. But the lake is still safe to swim in.
There are 29 other pink lakes in the world. But unlike other pink lakes that morph into different colors, Lake Hillier — 2,000 feet long and 660 feet wide — retains its pink hue all year round. The contrast between the bright pink and dark blue ocean water is stunning.
Not sure what’s more amazing about the African dung beetle, one that it rolls immaculate balls out of other animals’ dung or that it navigates from home to manure piles and back via celestial cues.
“These clever insects use the polarized light of the moon to navigate in a straight line,” writes Popular Mechanics. “Their eyes cannot see individual stars but a group of stars together, like the Milky Way, is dense enough to create a luminous line for them to follow.”
No stars, no problem! When the sun gets blocked or is directly overhead, the beetle uses its antennae to perceive wind signals. This way it can roll across the desert without getting lost.
But entomologist and photographer Piotr (Peter) Naskrecki of the Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory at Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique believes the Kheper subaeneus beetles are more interesting for what they do for mother Earth.
Few animals are as important to the African savanna ecosystem as the dung beetles and without their thankless toil the entire ecosystem would soon collapse, covered in a thick layer of waste.
Keep in mind that the gathered feces, which the palm-sized creature rolls into big balls, often weigh more than the beetle itself.
Attenborough’s fan-throated lizard (Sitana attenboroughii) is a species of fan-throated lizards endemic to India, primarily found in the state of Tamil Nadu.
The males flaunt their colorful dewlaps — loose skin on their necks — to woo potential mates during mating season. The males also flash their fan-structured throats to ward off rivals in their territory. Females, meanwhile, have smaller white-colored dewlaps.
This superb lizard lives mainly in open ground patches and takes its name after natural historian David Attenborough.
The Japanese forestry technique for harvesting wood, daisugi (meaning “cedar table”), goes as far back as the 14th century to solve a seedling shortage in Kyoto.
The 700-year-old technique involves pruning a tree’s branches as if they were giant bonsai trees. In doing so, the mother tree provides a stable platform that supports the birth of new uniform saplings growing perfectly upward and knotless on top.