Ten Incredible And Mysterious Places Around The World Untouched By Mankind.
The brilliant philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau one said, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to confront only the essential facts about life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
Our brilliant Earth is still filled with incredible places, pristine and untouched by the corruption of man. These locations are sanctuaries of peace, calm and awe inspiring beauty. If you are planning to travel, or wish to see the world, or are just curious about the heights of nature's beauty, glance at this list of the 10 most incredible places on earth untouched by man. It covers the globe and explores areas that are sacred and untainted.
The natural world has so many wonders to offer us, but our actions are slowly killing it. Visiting or even knowing about places like this both restores your faith in nature and allows you the chance to witness that which might soon be lost. As Thoreau said, "This curious world we inhabit is more wonderful than convenient, more beautiful than useful ; it exists more to be admired and enjoyed than used." These places cross the hidden lakes of Russia, to the mountains of Bhutan, to the Stone Forests of Madagascar, making it a fantastic compilation of the more precious and preserved locations on earth. The world is bigger than all of us and our destruction, the majesty and beauty of the world cannot be better evoked than by the stunning images of the locations of quiet and transcendence. Join me in this journey as we witness the greatest gems of the natural world.
#10 The Forest Lake, Russia
So large that it is often mistaken for a sea, Russia's Lake Baikal is the deepest and oldest lake in the world, and the largest freshwater lake by volume. Famous for its crystal clear waters and unique wildlife, the lake is hidden in a dense forest.Located in south-central Siberia, not far from the Mongolian border and surrounded by mountains, forests and wild rivers, Baikal is an immense and breathtaking area of natural beauty.
Although it's not the biggest lake in the world in size - that distinction goes to the salty Caspian Sea - it is the largest by volume.
Nicknamed the Pearl of Siberia, Lake Baikal holds about 20% of the world's fresh surface water - more water than all of the North American Great Lakes combined. Lake Baikal is home to more than 2,000 species of plants and animals, two-thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world, including the Baikal 'omul' fish and Baikal oil fish as well as the 'nerpa', one of the world's only freshwater species of seal.Bears, elk, lynx and other wildlife abound in the surrounding forests and mountains.The serenity of The Forest Lake is due to its inaccessibility
#9 Tepui, Venezuela
The word ’Tepui’ means ’home of the gods’ in the language of the indigenous people of Gran Sabana where these incredible, ominous natural structures are located. Tepuis tend to be found as isolated entities rather than in connected ranges, which makes them host to hundreds of endemic plant and animal species, some of which are found only on one Tepui. Towering over the surrounding forest, the Tepuis have almost sheer vertical flanks, and many rise as much as 1,000 meters above the surrounding jungle. The tallest of them are over 3,000 meters tall. The nearly vertical escarpments and dense rainforest bed on which these Tepuis or Mesa Lie make them inaccessible by foot. Only three of the Gran Sabana's mountains can be reached by foot, among which the 2,180 metres high Roraima is the most accessible.
Tepuis are the remains of a large sandstone plateau that once covered the granite basement complex between the north border of the Amazon Basin and the Orinoco, between the Atlantic coast and the Rio Negro, during the Precambrian period. Over millions of years, the plateaus were eroded and all that were left were isolated flat-headed Tepuis. Although the Tepuis looks quite barren, the summit is teeming with life. The high altitude of Tepuis causes them to have a different climate from the ground forest. The top is often cooler with frequent rainfall, while the bases of the mountains have a tropical, warm and humid climate. Many extraordinary plants have adapted to the environment to form species unique to the Tepui.Some 9,400 species of higher plants have been recorded from the Venezuelan Guayana, of which 2322 are registered from the Tepuis. Approximately one-third of the species occur nowhere else in the world.
#8 Honokohau Falls, Maui
Honokohau Falls is a drowned in lush greenery waterfall located on the island of Maui, Hawaiian Islands. It is the highest waterfall on the island. In order to reach such an incredible attraction, you have to take a helicopter tour, otherwise you won’t get there. You won’t be able to get to the waterfall by car, it is not reachable on foot – the area is too complicated for traveling. Water falls from a height of more than one hundred meters into a neat cavity. Next, Honokohau dumps its waters further into the second pool. Thus, it is a two-tiered waterfall. Honokohau Falls was named after the Honokohau stream. It is a long river which starts from the Puu Kukui top, the highest peak of Mauna Kahalawai – the West Maui Mountains. This place is surrounded by greenery and everywhere around you can feel the spirit of freedom and wildlife.
The top of These waters fill a labyrinth of streams moving down the Mount Waialeale to the plain through the numerous waterfalls. They form the navigable rivers of the Hawaiian Islands: Waimea, Wailua, Makaveli and Hanapepe. A number of remarkable phenomena such as gorges in Waimea (Hawaiian “Little Grand Canyon”) have been created due to this constant flow of water. The movie “Jurassic Park” brought fame to the Honokohau Falls. The incredible plot of the film takes the viewer exactly hither. The waterfall got into one of the scenes of the movie and was remembered for many viewers. Don’t worry that it’s so hard to get here. There are various companies which offer special tours to visit this place, so you can book the chopper in advance. This amazing and beautiful place is waiting for you!
#7 The Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest, also known as Amazonia, is one of the world's greatest natural resources. Because its vegetation continuously recycles carbon dioxide into oxygen, it has been described as the "Lungs of our Planet". About 20% of earth's oxygen is produced by the Amazon Rainforest.The Amazon Rainforest gets its name from the Amazon River, the life force of the Rainforest. The Amazon River begins in the Peruvian Andes, and winds its way east over the northern half of South America. It meets the Atlantic Ocean at Belem, Brazil. The main river is about 4,080 miles long. It lies in the countries of Brazil, Columbia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and the three Guyanas. Sixteen percent of all the world's river water flows through the Amazon delta. The Amazon Rainforest watershed is home to the world's highest level of biodiversity.
The world's largest tropical Rainforest, Amazonia covers more than half of Brazil. The canopy of Amazonia is less studied than the ocean floor. Scientists believe that the canopy may contain half of the world's species. Over 500 mammals, 175 lizards and over 300 other reptiles species, and one third of the world's birds live in Amazonia. Competition for survival is fierce. This may explain why over millions of years of evolution so many highly adapted species have evolved in the canopy of Amazonia. The most intense competition is between animals and plants. Both plants and animals have made adaptations to defend themselves from being eaten, and to overcome these defensive systems. Some animals found in the canopy are the harpy eagle, which preys on monkeys, kinkajous, sloth, reptiles, and other birds. Sloths spend most of their lives in the treetops. Their diet of low nutrition leaves forces them to conserve energy, causing the sloth to spend 80% of its life resting. A large portion of a howler monkey's diet consists of leaves, which are hard to digest.
#6 Gangkhar Puensum, Bhutan
Gangkhar Puensum is the highest mountain in Bhutan, and at 7,570 meters, it is the 40th highest peak in the world. As surprising as it may sound, Gangkhar Puensum still remains unclimbed, especially when most peaks in the Himalaya have already been scaled decades ago. Gangkhar Puensum lies on the border of Bhutan and Tibet, although the exact boundary line is disputed. Chinese maps put the peak squarely on the border whereas other sources put it wholly in Bhutan. When the mountain was first mapped and surveyed in 1922, maps of the region were shockingly inaccurate. Until very recently, maps of the region showed the mountain at different locations and marked with different heights. In fact, one of the first team to attempt the summit was unable to find the mountain at all.
Bhutan opened itself up to mountaineering only in 1983, as they believed that towering mountains were the dwelling of spirits. When Bhutan finally opened its doors to mountaineering, a series of expeditions were organized. Between 1985 and 1986, four attempts were made, but all ended in failure. The decision to allow mountaineering as a commercial pursuit didn’t last long. In 1994, the government forbade climbing of mountains higher than 6,000 meters out of respect for local spiritual beliefs, and since 2004 mountaineering in the country has been banned completely. Bhutan itself has not surveyed the peak yet, and it appears that the country has no interest in doing it any time soon. With the difficulty of securing permits from the government as well as lack of rescue support, it seems that the mountain will likely remain unclimbed for the foreseeable future.
#5 Tsingy De Bemaraha, The Stone Forest Of Madagascar
Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve is located close to the western coast of Madagascar. This 666 square kilometer region has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990 because of its unique, breathtaking geography, preserved mangrove forests, and wild bird and lemur populations. These rocky projections and canyons formed over a period of a million years, predominantly under the ground in the form of huge caves. Over the years, monsoon rains washed away meter upon meter of limestone and thick layers of chalky sediment, creating this system of unique, mysterious looking natural bridges, spires and gorges which can reach up to 120 meters in depth.
The Tsingy rise up to 70 meters from the ground. At these heights, the tops are bare and razor sharp. At lesser heights, one gets to see vegetation with roots tens of meters below. The word Tsingy is indigenous to the Malagasy language as a description of the Karst badlands of Madagascar. The word which translates into English as “where one cannot walk barefoot”, aptly describes the exceptional topography. This topography of eroded limestone may exist in other areas around the world, but nowhere as tall, slender and extensive as the spires here. Beneath this apparent austerity, an extraordinary world of forest canyons, humid caves and burning Karst Karren is inhabited by fundamentally differing plants and animals who thrive in close proximity.
#4 Kerguelen Islands
The Iles Kerguelen (Kerguelen Islands) are in the south Indian Ocean, 3,300 miles from the southern tip of Africa, and part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands. Kerguelen Island itself is the largest of about 300 islands, islets and reefs in the Kerguelen Archipelago, a sub-antarctic chain of islands of volcanic origin. It has also often been called Desolation Island for the barren, uninhabited landscape. The islands lie atop the Kerguelen-Gaussberg Ridge and are built up of a thick series of lava flows with deposits of fragmented volcanic rock and some granite.The Kerguelen Islands experience a fierce climate, with incessant, howling winds and rain or snow nearly every day. At a latitude of about 49 degrees South, the islands lie in the path of the “Furious Fifties,” a belt of westerly winds that whip around the Southern Hemisphere, mostly unimpeded by land.
The primary color of the island is tan, not because the land is dry, but because it is very rocky. Water is abundant, with precipitation falling on average of 300 days a year. Vegetative growth is limited by the rocky land as well as the constant, biting winds. Cabbage served as a life-saving source of Vitamin C for early explorers and it has drawn attention for its unique style of cross pollination which relies solely on the island’s winds, because no insects exist on the island. Despite the challenging climate, several animals and birds make their homes at Kerguelen or use it as a stopping over point in their migrations or during breeding. Among the wildlife on the Kerguelen Islands are several species of penguins, elephant and fur seals, and dozens of species of birds, including terns and albatrosses. The sea makes this “wildlife sanctuary” possible; the islands are located along the Antarctic Convergence Zone, where the icy waters of the Southern Ocean meet the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean. The waters in this mixing area are very rich in nutrients, which support the ocean plants, phytoplankton, which are the foundation of the ocean food web. A permanent group of 50 to 100 scientists resides at the main base at Port-aux-Francais.
#3 Rock Islands, Palau
Palau is an archipelago of about 250 islands, located in the western Pacific Ocean. The most famous of Palau’s sights are the Rock Islands – a group of green islands covered in foliage with a few bright white sandy beaches. Formed by ancient coral reefs, the bases of these limestone formations have been slowly eroded over millennia into quirky mushroom shapes. There are between 250 to 400 islands in the group.
The islands are for the most part uninhabited and are famous for their beaches, blue lagoons and the peculiar umbrella-like shapes of many of the islands themselves. The Rock Islands and the surrounding reefs make up Palau's popular tourist sites such as Blue Corner, Blue hole, German Channel, Ngermeaus Island and the famed Jellyfish Lake, one of the many Marine lakes in the Rock Islands that provides home and safety for several kinds of sting-less jellyfish found only in Palau.
It is the most popular dive destination in Palau. In fact, Palau offers some of the best and most diverse dive sites on the planet. From wall diving to high current drift dives, from Manta Rays to shark-feeds and from shallow and colorful lagoons to brilliantly decorated caves and overhangs. Although presently uninhabited, the islands were once home to Palauan settlements, and Palauans continue to use the area and its resources for cultural and recreational purposes. The islands contain a significant set of cultural remains relating to an occupation over some five thousand years that ended in abandonment. Archaeological remains of former human occupation in caves and villages, including rock art and burials, testifies to seasonal human occupation and use of the marine ecosystem, dating back to 3,100 BC and extending over some 2,500 years.
#2 Dallol, Ethiopia
With average temperatures consistently hovering at 94 ˚F, Dallol, Ethiopia might just be the hottest inhabited place on the planet. The sultry Danakil Desert surrounds the desiccated settlement, which contributes to Dallol’s unforgiving hot climate. The annual average high temperature is 105 ˚F, but in June the temperatures can skyrocket to a fiery 116 ˚F. Heat and drought pummel Dallol, making visitors feel like they’re on another planet. Unique geological conditions contribute to Dallol’s seemingly Martian landscape. The region is home to both the Dallol hydro-thermal field and a volcano, which–given reports of an incandescent ash cloud covering the area earlier this year–may have erupted as recently as January 2015. The volcano is one of the lowest volcanic vents in the world, but it is Dallol’s hot springs that make the region so visually striking.
The earth releases chemical compounds like ferrous chloride and iron hydroxide within the springs, which harden some upon release and paint the subsequent salt deposits and lakes a greenish white. After some time, inactive springs oxidize and become brown just like metal rusts in the rain. The process repeats for years, drenching an otherwise lifeless area in incredibly vibrant tones. Sulphur and solidified black lava engulf some springs; vibrant cyan pools hide poisonous waters. Openings in the Earth’s crust, called 'fumaroles', spew steam and gas into the burning hot air, raising the surrounding temperature even more. This alien terrain is literally coming apart at the seams and in a hundred million years, scientists predict that the Earth will rip open and the nearby Red Sea will swallow the painted desert whole.
#1 Palmyra Atoll
Although most commonly referred to as Palmyra Island, it is in actuality an atoll, or a ring formed by coral formations growing along the rim of an ancient sunken volcano. Palmyra Atoll is located in the equatorial North Pacific, lying about 1,000 miles due south of Hawaii and approximately half way between the Hawaiian Islands and American Samoa. It is a remote place with no permanent inhabitants, untouched and largely overgrown with extremely dense vegetation. The entire atoll measures a mere mile and a half wide and a mile and a half long. The tiny atoll has a rich diversity of wildlife, and is home to a vibrant, thriving coral reef system.
However, despite its pristine beauty, Palmyra has also long been said to be a remarkably malevolent place, and ground zero for a wide variety supernatural events, curious mysteries, and explainable happenings. After the atoll’s discovery, Palmyra quickly gained a reputation for being a place of strangeness and menace. Passing boats reported that ghostly lights could be seen glittering about on the then totally uninhabited island, and the surrounding seas were said to be infested with vicious sharks and mysterious sea monsters. The perilous reefs around Palmyra were also notorious for wrecking ships. Those who avoided such fates often spoke of how the reefs almost seemed to spontaneously jut forth from the sea where there was nothing moments before. The reefs of Palmyra atoll were sometimes whispered about as almost some sort of willful and malignant, sentient thing.
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