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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.

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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

Mount Roraima: An island in the clouds

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.

One of the series of Pakaraima chain plateaus that rise above sea level, Mount Roraima is the highest peak at 9,200 feet with a 12-square-mile summit area with 1,300 foot high cliffs. Roraima and the surrounding plateaus look like islands floating in the sky.

A roaring beauty that dates back two billion years to the Precambrian era, it is no wonder that Mount Roraima has become known as a lost world. It’s commonly perceived as a home for living dinosaurs to this day so high, flat, and rich in unusual species of plants and animals.

At the top of the mountain also lies rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and caves looking like a picturesque scene out of Jurassic Park.

Categories
Nature Travel

The beauty of Madagascar’s giant Baobab trees

The Grandidier’s Baobabs (Palmate adansonia) are giant trees indigenous to Africa, predominantly on Madagascar’s beautiful island.

Baobabs can live up to 800 to 1000 years with their unique ability to act as a water storage tank—the trees can store up to 32 gallons of water in their thick trunks. Both the animals and locals tap the trees for H20 during the dry season.

The heart of many African remedies and folklore, the iconic Baobab is often referred to as the “Tree of Life.”

The beauty of Madagascar’s giant Baobab trees
Photo: Beth Moon

The 80-plus foot trees have a circumference of 108 feet. 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 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 each year.

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Travel

Vietnam’s Magical Golden Bridge

There are two hands at the Cau Vang (Golden Bridge) on the top of Da Nang’s Ba Nang Hills in Vietnam, one to pick up the people, the other to hold the bridge together. 

Suspended nearly a mile high above sea level, the 500-foot long bridge was designed by TA Landscape Architecture in Ho Chi Minh City. Said one of its principal designer Vu Viet Anh, the Instagramable scene intends to look like a sparkling thread of “giant hands of Gods, pulling a strip of gold out of the land.”

Vietnam’s Magical Golden Bridge

In fact, the stone hands have been on top of the mountaintop for centuries and have aged beautifully over time.

The Golden Bridge is quite simply, the apotheosis of where nature and great architecture collide. See more about Vietnam’s Magical Golden Bridge in the video below. 

Vietnam’s Magical Golden Bridge
Categories
Nature Travel

The magnificent Dynjandi Waterfall in Iceland

The magnificent Dynjandi in Iceland cascades over 300 feet to give off the impression of an enormous wedding veil

The jewel of Westfjords, one of the most remote areas of the country, Dynjandi waterfall is a set of 7 cascades that span 98 feet wide at the top and 197 feet wide at its base. To get an idea of the waterfall’s scale, take a look at the human in the yellow jacket in this picture. 

The magnificent Dynjandi Waterfall in Iceland

The Icelandic term dynjandi means thunderous or resounding.

No wonder the Dynjandi waterfall is big and beautiful, one of the most impressive gushing waterfalls on Earth, and even more majestic to see it up close. 

See more images below. 

The magnificent Dynjandi Waterfall in Iceland
The magnificent Dynjandi Waterfall in Iceland
The magnificent Dynjandi Waterfall in Iceland
Categories
Nature Science Travel

How Australia’s Lake Hillier gets its pink color

Lake Hillier in the Recherche Archipelago of Western Australia off the coast of Cape Arid National Park is known for its pink color.

Scientists postulate that the lake’s solid bubblegum pink color results from the intermixing of Halobacteria and a salt-tolerant algae species called Dunaliella Salina.

How Australia's Lake Hillier gets its pink color

Halobacteria produce red pigments mixed with salt-tolerant Dunaliella Salina, creating a stunning strawberry milkshake color.

The chemical reactions between the salt and the microorganisms make the lake ten times saltier than the ocean nearby.

There are 29 other pink lakes in the world. But unlike other pink lakes that morph into different colors, Lake Hillier retains its pink hue all year round. It’s also safe to swim in.

How Australia's Lake Hillier gets its pink color
How Australia's Lake Hillier gets its pink color

The contrast between the bright pink and dark blue ocean water is also striking when viewed above. Learn more about Australia’s pink lake below.

How Australia's Lake Hillier gets its pink color
Categories
Nature Travel

Coron Palawan: The most beautiful island in the world

With a population of 51,803 people, Coron Island, located in the north of the Palawan Province, Philippines, is considered one of the world’s most beautiful islands.

With endless shades of tropical blue, beautiful white beaches, lagoons, and stunning ecological features, including shallow-water coral reefs and freshwater lakes, Coron Island does look like paradise.

On a historical note, Japan used the island as a refueling base during World War II. So there’s known to be some shipwreck-diving tours around as well.

Learn more about Coron Island below.

Coron Palawan: The most beautiful island in the world
Coron Palawan: The most beautiful island in the world
Coron Palawan: The most beautiful island in the world