Scenic Vistas from Planet Earth

Before we get started, the crew here wants me to remind everyone that tomorrow is the last day for the Beach Camera Sizzling Summer Sweeps and that the Colors of Summer Photography Contest will end tomorrow as well. So, hurry up and join in if you want to win cool prizes!

Over on Facebook for the past few weeks, we’ve been sharing images from a group called The Earth Story. These photographs are of natural landscapes found on the planet and generally come with an accompanying explanation of the phenomenon and where it can be found. Where possible, the photographer’s name has been included in the description.

Some of these photos are almost surreal in their features and wonder. Several times I’ve looked at them and had to ask History Geek if the pictures were for real or had been altered in Photoshop. He assures me that they’re all legitimate photographs of strange places. Art Geek also swears that they’re not Photoshopped. Something about they’d look even more surreal if they had been.

So, if you haven’t been following us on Facebook, here are a few of the images you might not have seen.

This photo was taken by Elena Northroup in northern Arizona near the border with Utah. The distinctive wave pattern seen here in the Coyote Buttes North was begun during the Jurassic era. It was caused by erosion when water was drained out after the creation of the two troughs seen in the image. The main contributor to the erosion after that has been dust and the wind. The color patterns are caused by deposits of limonite, goethite and hematite trapped within the pore spaces of quartz.

Amazing, isn’t it? It’s almost difficult to believe that something like that could be created solely by water and wind erosion, let alone that dinosaurs were wandering about, fancying themselves the masters of creation when this landmark began to be formed.

No, that’s not Asgard — though you could be forgiven for thinking it might be! It’s Mount Roraima in South America. It covers the borders of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana. This mountain’s flat surface is surrounded by a 400 meter tall razor cliff-face. Its highest point is Maverick Rock at 2,810 meters above sea level. This photo by Uwe George captures the awe and majesty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Most photos and satellite images of this mountain show it surrounded by clouds. This phenomenon is caused by the thick rainforests near the mountain. The humid heat makes the moisture from the rainforest rise and condense over and around Mount Roraima, forming thick clouds. Mount Roraima is almost always cloaked in clouds and rainfall is a daily occurrence.

Before you swear that I’m pulling the wool over your eyes with this one: this place actually exists. This is a photo of the Pearl Shoal falls in Western Sichuan, China. These falls are part of the Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve and sit above Mirror Lake and Gold Bell Lake. If you doubt me, you can go there and see it for yourself. I wouldn’t recommend trying to ride down any of those falls in a barrel as some people attempt at the Niagara Falls, though.

Those are just a few of the photos we’ve shared over on our Facebook wall. Drop over there and Like us and you could see something spectacular every day!

— da Bird