Cinque Terre, Rio Maggiore, Italy

The last of the five villages that make up the national park Cinque Terre , walking from north to south is Riomaggiore, and is undoubtedly the most scenic and graceful of all the other peoples of the town park .

Sumidero Canyon in Mexico

The Sumidero Canyon is a deep hole narrow canyon located 5 km from Tuxtla Gutierrez, capital of Chiapas, Mexico .

Plitvice lakes National Park in Croatia

Plitvice Lakes were declared public property by the law of 8 April 1.949, and a national park in the Official Journal Narodne novine NO.29 1.949.

Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park

Mu Ko Ang Thong is a marine national park in the Gulf of Thailand, at the shore of the Surat Thani Province.

Tulip Fields in Holland

The first tulips arrived in Holland in 1.594 and came from the hand of the French botanist Charles de Lécluse.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hiller lake or the pink lake in Western Australia

Lake Hillier, is a lake on Middle Island, the largest of the islands and islets that make up the Recherche Archipelago, Western Australia.

The most notable feature of the lake is its pink colour. 

It is such a significant distinguishing feature of the archipelago that air passengers often take note of it. 

The colour is permanent, and does not alter when the water is taken in a container. 

The length of the lake is about six hundred metres (3/8 mile). 

The lake is surrounded by a rim of sand and a dense woodland of paperbark and eucalyptus trees with a narrow strip of sand dunes covered by vegetation separating it to the north from the Southern Ocean.

The island and lake are thought to have been first charted by the Flinders expedition in 1.802. 

Captain Flinders is said to have observed the pink lake after ascending the island's peak. 

John Thistle, the ship's master, collected some of the lake's water, which he found to be saturated with salt.

Although the source of the pink colour has not been definitively proven in the case of Lake Hillier, the pink colour of other salt lakes (e.g., Pink Lake) in the region arises from a dye created by the organisms Dunaliella salina and Halobacteria. 

Another hypothesis is that the pink colour is due to red halophilic bacteria in the salt crusts.

Despite the unusual hue, the lake exhibits no known adverse effects upon humans. 

From above, the lake appears a solid bubble gum pink, but from the shoreline it appears more of a clear pink hue. 

The shoreline is also covered in salt crust deposits.

Lake Hillier is a pink-coloured lake on Middle Island, the largest of the islands that make up the Recherche Archipelago off the coast of Esperance.

From above the lake appears a solid bubble gum pink. 

The lake is about 600 meters long, and is surrounded by a rim of sand and dense woodland of paperbark and eucalyptus trees. 

A narrow strip of sand dunes covered by vegetation separates it from the blue Southern Ocean.

No-one fully knows why the lake is pink. 

Pink Lake near Esperance is another pink lake set against a backdrop of some of Australia’s most stunning coastal scenery, seven kilometres from the town of Esperance.

In the right weather conditions, the lake turns a soft shade of pink due to the high concentration of algae in the water. 

For the best views and excellent take a walk to Pink Lake lookout.

The lake has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because it supports significant numbers of native and migratory birds.

There’s plenty to see and do around Esperance including horse riding, walking and cycling, fishing, scuba diving, whale-watching (May to October), windsurfing, abseiling, kayaking and 4WD drive tours.

The Esperance Museum displays material about the local history, including pioneer memorabilia, shipwreck items, pieces of the US Sky Lab, which fell to earth in the Esperance region in 1980, aboriginal artefacts and antiques. 

There is an artificial reef just off the end of the town jetty which is a good spot for fishing or a stroll.

Drive from Esperance west along Twilight Beach Road past West Beach, Chapman's Point, Blue Haven Beach, Salmon Beach, Fourth Beach and Twilight Beach. 

Walk along the soft, white sands, granite cliffs, and watch the ocean change colour from aquamarine near the shore to a deep blue out near the islands of the Recherche Archipelago.

The sand dunes, pushed to great heights by the wind called the 'Esperance Doctor', rise more than 50 metres high. Head to Rotary Lookout for panoramic views of Esperance, Esperance Bay, Pink Lake and the islands off the coast.

Esperance is also a gateway to Cape Le Grand National Park; Stokes National Park and Cape Arid National Park.

Esperance is approximately 720 kilometres south-east of Perth on Western Australia's southern coastline. 

It is an eight hour drive or two hour flight from Perth.

Ruby Falls, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Ruby Falls is a 65-foot high underground waterfall located within Lookout Mountain, near Chattanooga, Tennessee in the United States.

The cave which houses Ruby Falls was formed with the formation of Lookout Mountain. 

About 200 to 240 million years ago (in the Carboniferous period, at the end of the Paleozoic era) the eastern Tennessee area was covered with a shallow sea, the sediments of which eventually formed limestone rock.

About 200 million years ago, this area was uplifted and subsequent erosion has created the current topography. 

The limestone in which the cave is formed is still relatively horizontal, just as it was deposited when it was below sea level. 

The Lookout Mountain Caverns, which includes Ruby Falls Cave, is a limestone cave. 

These caves occur when slightly acidic groundwater enters subterranean streams and eats away at the relatively soluble limestone, causing narrow cracks to widen into passages and caves in a process called chemical weathering. 

The stream which makes up the Falls entered the cave sometime after its formation.

Ruby Falls Cave features many of the more well-known types of cave formations (or speleothems) including stalactites and stalagmites, columns, drapery, and flowstone.

The Falls are located at the end of the main passage of Ruby Falls Cave, in a large vertical shaft. 

The stream, 1120 feet underground, is fed both by rainwater and natural springs. It collects in a pool in the cave floor and then continues through the mountain until finally joining the Tennessee River at the base of Lookout Mountain.

While Ruby Falls Cave combines with Lookout Mountain Cave to form the Lookout Mountain Caverns, the two caves were not actually connected by any passage. 

Ruby Falls Cave is the upper of the two and contains a variety of geological formations and curiosities which Lookout Mountain Cave does not have.

Ruby Falls Cave, unlike Lookout Mountain Cave, had no natural openings and could not be entered until the 20th Century; it therefore does not have the various artifacts which are often associated with caves in the southeastern United States. 

In 1.905 the natural entrance to Lookout Mountain Cave was closed during the construction of a railway tunnel. In the 1920s a chemist and cave enthusiast named Leo Lambert thought that he could re-open the cave as a tourist attraction, and formed a company to do so. 

He planned to make an opening further up the mountain than the original opening and transport tourists to the cave via an elevator. 

For this purpose, his company purchased land on the side of Lookout Mountain above Lookout Mountain Cave and in 1.928 began to drill through the limestone. 

In doing so, they discovered a small passageway about 18 inches high and four feet wide. 

Exploring this opening, Lambert discovered the formerly hidden Ruby Falls Cave and its waterfall. 

On his next trip to visit the cave, Lambert took his wife Ruby, and told her that he would name the falls after her.

In 1.954, the pathway around the basin was cut in order to allow tourists a better view of the falls.[6] This began the tour-related quip regarding not drinking the falls' water. 

Though pure and thus safe to drink, it has large concentrations of magnesium from the strata of the mountain, which makes it a natural laxative.

In 1.975, the secondary exit from the falls to the base of the mountain was cut. 

This was to comply with recreation regulations in Tennessee. 

The secondary exit is used in the event that the main shaft elevator fails.

In April, 2.007, the National Speleological Society (NSS) published "Caves of Chattanooga"by Larry E. Matthews. Chapter 3, "Ruby Falls Cave", covers the history of Ruby Falls Cave from its discovery in 1.928 through 2.007 (includes 23 illustrations). 

Chapter 1, "Lookout Mountain Cave", covers the cave Leo Lambert was drilling for when he accidentally discovered Ruby Falls Cave.

Lambert decided to open both caves to the public, although Lookout Mountain Cave was closed in 1.935 since it was not very popular with tourists, who were much more impressed with the upper cave. 

Public tours began in 1.930. 

Electric lights were installed in the cave, making it one of the first commercial caves to be so outfitted.

Motorists travelling on I-75 in the 1970s were subjected to dozens maybe hundreds of billboards along their route with the words "See Ruby Falls" beginning hundreds of miles north and south of the falls itself. 

Ruby Falls remains a staple of Chattanooga tourism, operating daily. 

Ruby Falls is owned by the Steiner family of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Ruby Falls and the larger Lookout Mountain Caverns complex have been designated a National Historic Landmark. 

It is often associated with the nearby Rock City attraction, which lies atop Lookout Mountain.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Isle of Skye in Scotland

The Isle of Skye is a gem of an island, lying off the west coast of Scotland, with beautiful mountain scenery, interesting geology, stunning sea lochs and plenty of wildlife. 

It's also just become the first place in the world to be virtually twinned after being twinned with the fictional isles of Skylands as part of the promotion of the new Skylanders video game.

Skye is the largest of the Inner Hebrides lying of the west coast of Scotland and its landscape is distinctly Highland with its lochs, heather-clad moors and towering peaks.

Despite its small size, Skye boasts an impressive 20 Munros, making the island a favourite with hillwalkers keen to tackle the heights of its Cuillin mountain range. 

The Black Cuillin is famous for its dramatic jagged ridge and the Inaccessible Pinnacle, a 150 ft rock making Sgurr Dearg the only Munro in Scotland with a summit that can only be reached by rock climbing.

Under the shadow of the towering Black Cuillin lies Loch Coruisk. 

With its reflective waters and mountain scenery, the loch is considered to be one of the most beautiful sights in Scotland.

Aside from the Munros, Skye features many other geological marvels such as the breathtaking landslip formation, the Quiraing, the astounding sea cliff of Kilt Rock on the rocky coastline of Trotternish, and strange rock pinnacles like the Old Man of Storr. 
The Faerie Pools of Glenbrittle are fast becoming a popular place for a swim thanks to its beautiful clear waters and spectacular surrounding scenery.

It was this beautiful scenery that led to the recent unique twinning partnership between the Isle of Skye and the virtual world of Skylands. 

In the world's first every virtual twinning. 

Skye has provided some of the backdrop for the exciting new Skylander Swap Force game, with key character Wash Buckler already having visited the island. 

The game brings toys to life by combining the physical characters playing in a virtual word with the ability to swap the top and bottom halves of the interactive figures.

Skye’s scenic landscape also provides a home for an abundant array of wildlife. 

Red deer, Scottish wildcats, pine martens and mountain hares roam the hillsides while around the coast you are sure to spot seabirds, seals and, if you are lucky, otters.

Plitvice lakes National Park in Croatia

Plitvice Lakes were declared public property by the law of 8 April 1949, and a national park in the Official Journal Narodne novine NO.29 1.949. 

Accepted as a world heritage site in 1.979 .

The waters flowing over the limestone and chalk have, over thousands of years, deposited travertine barriers, creating natural dams which in turn have created a series of beautiful lakes, caves and waterfalls. 

These geological processes continue today. 

The forests in the park are home to bears, wolves and many rare bird species.

Plitvice Lakes National Park contains a series of beautiful lakes, caves and waterfalls. 

These have been formed by processes typical of karst landscapes such as the deposition of travertine barriers, creating natural dams. 

These geological processes continue today.

The Plitvice Lakes basin is a geomorphologic formation of biological origin, a karst river basin of limestone and dolomite, with approximately 20 lakes, created by the deposition of calcium carbonate precipitated in water through the agency of moss, algae and aquatic bacteria. 

These create strange, characteristic shapes and contain travertine-roofed and vaulted caves. 

The carbonates date from the Upper Trias, Juras and Cretaceous Ages and are up to 4,000 m thick. 

In order to maintain and preserve the natural characteristics of the lakes, the whole of surface and most of the subterranean drainage system has to be embraced by extending the original borders of the park. 

The new areas comprise layers of karstified limestone with dolomites of Jurassic age.

There are 16 interlinked lakes between Mala Kapela Mountain and Pljesevica Mountain. 

The lake system is divided into the upper and lower lakes: the upper lakes lie in a dolomite valley and are surrounded by thick forests and interlinked by numerous waterfalls; the lower lakes, smaller and shallower, lie on the limestone bedrock and are surrounded only by sparse underbrush. 

The upper lakes are separated by dolomite barriers, which grow with the formation of travertine, forming thus travertine barriers. 

Travertine is mostly formed on the spots where water falls from an elevation, by the incrustation of algae and moss with calcium carbonate. 

The lower lakes were formed by crumbling and caving in of the vaults above subterranean cavities through which water of the upper lakes disappeared.

The forest, that comprises pure stands of beech at lower altitudes and mixed stands of beech and fir at higher levels, can also be classified in terms of underlying strata of dolomite and limestone complexes. 

The dolomite communities comprise tertiary pine, hornbeam, spruce and beech-fir forests. 

The limestone communities have a smaller number of forest types but cover a larger area with communities of spruce and fern, spruce in beech, coppiced hornbeam with sumac, maple and heather. 

Hydrophytic communities of black alder, grey ivy, willow, reeds and bulrush communities are found. 

There are a large mosaic of meadow communities, depending on altitude, geology soils and other ecological factors.

The area is full of rich fauna rich, including European brown bear, wolf, eagle owl and capercaillie. 

There are records of 126 species of bird, of which 70 breed.

The area was the cradle of the prehistoric Illyrian tribe of Japuds dating from 1000 BC. 

The Japudic culture was followed by the Romans and from the 8th century AD was occupied by slavs. 

Archaeological remains include a prehistoric settlement on the site of the current Plitvice village, fortifications, bronze age tools and ceramics.