Covão dos Conchos is an artificial lake in the Serra da Estrela mountains in Portugal that is famous for its Bell-mouth spillway. The spillway was built in 1955 with the aim of diverting water from Ribeira das Naves to Lagoa Comprida. This sci-fi-looking spillway was little-known until photos of the hole went viral in 2016. Over the last 60 years moss and foliage has grown onto the mouth of the funnel, adding to its ethereal allure. The tunnel that collects the water is 1519 meters long. The sinkhole creates the illusion that the dam is broken.
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The Hungry Tree is a tree in the grounds of the King’s Inns in Dublin, Ireland. The 80-year-old plane tree has become known for having partially consumed a nearby park bench. The tree was planted next to a cast iron bench dating from the early 1800s. Over decades the tree has grown to encompass the bench and is said to be “eating” the bench, which is how the tree’s name originated. The tree has been listed as one of the country’s “Heritage Trees” by the Tree Council of Ireland and it has been listed largely for its value as a curiosity and tourist attraction rather than its age or rarity.
William Murphy/CC BY-SA 2.0
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“Iceberg” is located in the Kegen district of the Almaty region between the villages of Kegen and Shyrganak. Thanks to the fine particles of water that are sprayed high into the sky, the “iceberg” looks like a smoking ice volcano. The “volcano” appears every winter with the arrival of cold weather as a result of an underground spring. When temperatures drop below zero, the water freezes in the form of a volcano cone.
Sail Rock is a natural sandstone monolith located on the shore of the Black Sea in Russia. It resembles the outline of a ship’s sail, hence its name. The monolith has a sheer vertical slope confronting the shore of the sea, isolated from the mass of basic rock by geological forces. It is more than three-fourths revealed by the tide and lies perpendicular to the coast. What is most remarkable about this landmark is its proportions. While the cliff is only a little more than one meter thick, its height is about 25 m and its length about 20.
An opening of unclear origin is located in the sail, approximately 2.5 meters above the ground. Many guides state that the formation was a defense against mountain artillery during the Caucasian War. However, this version of the origin of the opening is under some doubt. In 1903, S. Vasyukov, who was investigating the Black Sea coast, wrote after the inspection of the cliff that it was “[..] shot from a battleship by seamen, they released 4 projectiles, but the wall remained firm, although the traces are noticeable, but they nowhere opened the rock […]”.
Sergey S. Dukachev, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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Crowley Lake is a reservoir on the upper Owens River in southern Mono County, California. Upon completion of the reservoir in 1941, strange columnar formations, some of which reached heights of as much as 20 feet, were spotted along the reservoir’s eastern shore. Some described them as stone cylinders connected by fortified stone arches that had been completely covered and obscured for millions of years but which had been gradually unmasked by the incessant pummeling of the lake’s powerful waves, whose constant pounding had eroded the more malleable rock at the base of the cliffs encasing these pillars.
The pillars were simply regarded as oddities until 2015, when geologists realized that they were the result of frigid water from melting snow seeping down into volcanic ash, creating tiny holes in the hot ash, which then rose up and out of these same holes. Researchers have now counted nearly 5,000 of these pillars, which appear in groups and vary widely in shape, size and color over an area of 4000 acres, with some of the columns standing as erect as towering pylons.
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The Kagami Numa, the “Dragon Eye lake” in Japan hides a truly mind-blowing phenomenon. Most of the time it’s pretty ordinary looking, but if you go there from late May through early June you might be lucky to witness its transformation into a “dragon eye” shape.
In the late spring, a great amount of snow melts and pours into the pond, and a ring of open water forms around the edge, leaving a white disk in the middle. Next, a pool of water gathers in the center of the white disk, making the pond look rather like a huge eye.
Mushroom rock resembling hands holding a globe in Falsuri, Bolivia.
Grüner See (Green Lake) is a lake in Styria, Austria, surrounded by the Hochschwab Mountains and forests. The name “Green Lake” originated because of its emerald-green water. During winter, the lake is only 1–2 m (3–7 ft) deep and the surrounding area is used as a county park. However, in spring, when the temperature rises and snow melts, the basin of land below the mountains fills with water. The lake reaches its maximum depth of around 12 m (39 ft). The waters are at their highest in June when it becomes a destination for divers keen to explore the rare phenomenon. A bridge and a bench could also be found underwater, as well as trails and trees.
By Herzi Pinki (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
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The Nördlinger Ries is a giant impact crater in Southern Germany. An asteroid hit this region 15 million years ago creating a crater with a diameter of 25km. The town is located in the crater depression. The immense pressure and heat created tons of small diamonds Stone from this area was quarried and used to build the stone buildings. Approximately 72,000 tonnes of diamonds are hidden in Nördlinger’s buddings. They are scientifically valuable but economically not of interest.
Aerial scenes at the end of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory were filmed there.
Wolkenkratzer, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Hd pano, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons
Penitentes are snow formations found at high altitudes. They take the form of elongated, thin blades of hardened snow or ice, closely spaced and pointing towards the direction of the sun.
The name comes from the resemblance of a field of penitentes to a crowd of kneeling people doing penance. The formation evokes the tall, pointed habits and hoods worn by brothers of religious orders in the Processions of Penance during Spanish Holy Week. In particular the brothers’ hats are tall, narrow, and white, with a pointed top.
These spires of snow and ice grow over all glaciated and snow-covered areas in the Dry Andes above 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) and range in length from a few centimeters to over 5 meters (16 ft).
By ESO/B. Tafreshi (twanight.org) – CC BY 4.0, Link
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