Baldwin Street: world’s steepest residential street

Baldwin Street, in Dunedin, New Zealand is the world’s steepest residential street, according to Guinness World Records. This short straight street, a little under 350 meters (1,150 ft) long, rises from 30 m (98 ft) above sea level at its junction with North Road to 100 m (330 ft) above sea level at the top, an average slope of slightly more than 1:5. The street’s steepness was unintentional. As with many other parts of early Dunedin, and indeed New Zealand, streets were laid out in a grid pattern with no consideration for the terrain, usually by planners in London.

Public Domain, Link

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The Siberian ‘gateway to hell’ that keeps growing larger with no end in sight

Batagayka crater in Siberia, known as the “gateway to hell” by locals, is almost 1 kilometer in length and 86 meters in depth. The structure is named after the near-flowing Batagayka, a right tributary of the river Yana. The land began to sink due to the thawing permafrost in the 1960s after the surrounding forest was cleared. Flooding also contributed to the enlargement of the crater. Archeologists have found ice age fossils buried in the mud around the rim of the crater. The rim is extremely unstable as there are regular landslides into the crater and the permafrost is constantly thawing. The Batagayka crater is making noises too as it consumes large chunks of the area. The crater is currently growing in size and it will likely eat through the entire hill slope before it slows down. Frank Günther of the  Alfred Wegener Institute in Potsdam, Germany, showed that over the past decade crater grew by an average of 10 meters per year.

By NASA Earth Observatory images by Jesse Allen, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. – https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=90104&src=eoa-iotd, Public Domain, Link

Illusion of a ‘breathing forest’ in Canada

Photo Credit: Maxpixel

“The ground looks like it’s breathing in this Quebec forest,” wrote user Daniel Holland on twitter. According to the Forbes report, air is involved in this illusion, as strong wind plays a role in moving the trees and the topsoil. During a storm the ground becomes saturated with water, loosening the soil’s cohesion. As strong winds move the top of the tree, the force is transferred by the stem, acting as a lever, to the roots and the ground begins to move.

The wind caused the trees to sway, roots and all. In fact, the whole floor seems to rise and fall as if the earth itself was breathing. The phenomenon works best with spruce trees with their almost disc-shaped root system growing in the uppermost layers of the soil.

The tunneled sequoia trees

Tuolumne Grove is a sequoia grove located near Crane Flat in Yosemite National Park. The grove contains about twenty-five large giant sequoia specimens. The one-tenth-mile trail includes the “Dead Giant,” the first tree to be tunneled in the park. In 1878, the huge, already dead sequoia, 30 feet in diameter at the base, hollowed out for stagecoaches and later cars to drive through on the old Big Oak Flat Road. In 1993, park officials closed off car traffic due to damage to the grove’s ecosystem.

By Dcrjsr [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

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“Earth Pyramids” – cone-shaped pillars in South Tyrol

By UwelinoOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

The earth pyramids are a natural monument located in South Tyrol. The original name for these earth pyramids is Lahntürme (landslide towers). They are rather unusual formations of their kind which originate from morainic rocks of glacial origin. The columns of the pyramids may be more or less elongated, and the higher they are the thinner they get, ending usually with a stone cover. These earth pyramids are not static, they are constantly evolving, because their life cycle foresees a continuous erosion, or even a final collapse leaving room for new formations.

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Shrimp fishing on horseback

By Michel VR [CC BY 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

Oostduinkerke, on the western end of Belgium’s short coastline, is known for its shrimpers on horseback, For nearly 700 years, the shrimpers of Oostduinkerke have been training draft horses to help them pursue the local catch through the cold waters of the North Sea.  Oostduinkerke is the last place on Earth to use this traditional form of fishing. Currently, just 19 fishermen continue the practice.
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Abandoned flour mills reclaimed by nature

By MentnafunangannOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Vallone dei Mulini (in English  Valley of the Mills) is a historic valley in Sorrento, Italy. Nestled in a deep ravine between two towering cliffs, the  mills, built from stone as far back as the 10th century,  ground wheat for a thousand years until they were abandoned sometime in the 19th and 20th century due to a rise in humidity in the area. The nearly complete lack of ventilation, sun exposure, and the presence of tuff resulted to the mills be taken over by fern that thrives in the humid crevasse rawls across the roof of the mills.
It is considered one of the most enchanting views of the Sorrento Peninsula. It is known for its variety and unique plants.

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