Fairy circles are circular patches of land barren of plants, varying between 2 and 15 meter in diameter, often encircled by a ring of stimulated growth of grass. Until 2014, the phenomenon was only known to occur in the arid grasslands of the Namib desert. In that year, ecologists were alerted to similar rings of vegetation outside of Africa, in a part of the Pilbara in Western Australia.
The cause of fairy circles has long been a puzzle and the investigation has proved challenging. One favored theory is that the distinct vegetation patterns are a population-level consequence of competition for scarce water, as the plants “organise” themselves to maximise access to scarce resources. The circular barren patches capture water which then flows to the outer edges of the ring. More water available increases biomass and roots which leads to the soil becoming looser. The less dense soil allows more water to penetrate and feed the vegetation, creating a feedback loop supporting the plants at the edge of the circle.
Lake Powell is a man-made reservoir on the Colorado River in Utah and Arizona, United States. The Lake was created by the flooding of Glen Canyon by the Glen Canyon Dam, which also led to the 1972 creation of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, a popular summer destination of public land. The lake also stretches up the Escalante River and San Juan River where they merge into the main Colorado River. This provides access to many natural geographic points of interest such as the Rainbow Bridge, the Hite Crossing Bridge, Cathedral in the Desert and San Juan goosenecks. The sparkling blue waters of Lake Powell are magnificently framed by towering rock formations and soaring red cliffs which surround the area for as far as the eye can see. info
“That Wanaka Tree” – a willow growing just inside the lake – is a tourist attraction in its own right, featuring on many tourists’ Instagram feeds. The tree had its lower branches, including one branch that dips into the water, cut by vandals in 2020. The lone tree is at the foothills of Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand, a World Heritage Site and symbolises hope and endurance.
“That Wanaka Tree”, a willow growing off the shores of Lake Wanaka, against a mountainous background. Tom Hall / CC BY
Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness is located in northwestern New Mexico, between Chaco Canyon and the De-Na-Zin Wilderness. The wilderness has multicolored badlands, sandstone hoodoos (fairy chimneys), petrified wood and it’s rich with fossils, hills and occasional instances of pińon-juniper, sagebrush and scrubland vegetation.
Originally invented by the people of the region of Kitayama, the method was used to solve the problem of shortage of seedlings. Daisugi is a Japanese forestry technique where specially planted cedar trees are pruned heavily. like giant bonsai, to produce “shoots” that become perfectly uniform, straight and completely knot free lumber. The shoots are carefully and gently pruned by hand every two years leaving only the top boughs, allowing them to grow straight. Harvesting takes 20 years and old “tree stock” can grow up to a hundred shoots at a time.
Onekotan is an uninhabited volcanic island located near the northern end of the Kuril Islands along the Pacific “Ring of Fire.” Onekotan consists of two stratovolcanos connected by a relatively flat isthmus.
Krenitsyn is the prominent caldera at the southern end of the island. The mountain rises from a depth of from 600 to 900 meters, and contains a deep central caldera lake with a diameter of 7 kilometers, called Tao-Rusyr Caldera. The central peak of this “island within the island” is actually the highest point on Onekotan Island
Nemo is the peak to the north. It has two nested subsidiary calderas, with the cone of Nemo Peak rising in the southwest end of the youngest caldera and a crescent-shaped crater lake, named Lake Chernoye, partially filling the northeast part.
White Desert National Park in Egypt, is the site of large white chalk rock formations, created through erosion by occasional sandstorm in the area. Some of them have developed nicknames over the years. The most famous are called “chicken and mushroom”, “camel” and “whale”, among other things. Arguably, the best way to experience the wonders of the White Desert is to camp overnight because these sculptural formations look most impressive at sunrise or sunset.
Hocking Hills State Park is a state park in Ohio, United States. Within the park are over 25 miles of hiking trails, rock formations, waterfalls, and recess caves.
In the southernmost reaches of Hocking Hills is Ash Cave, the largest, most impressive recess cave in the state. The horseshoe-shaped cave measures 700 feet from end to end, 100 feet deep from the rear cave wall to its front edge with the rim rising 90 feet high. The cave was named after the huge pile of ashes found under the shelter by early settlers.
One of China’s most complex interchanges. It’s called Qianchun Interchange and is located in the mountainous province of Guizhou, China. Construction began in 2009, but the massive road knot was only completed in 2017. It consists of 18 different ramps in eight directions on five different levels. The highest level is 37m above ground and this incredibly complex infrastructure has been labelled a nightmare for motorists trying to find their way around. People on social media pointed out that even the GPS systems would be confused by the five different layers of road. However, officials claim that the directions and exits on the interchange are clearly marked and that even if you make mistakes, it’s easy to turn around.