In an instant an active volcano can spew molten lava over a neighbouring village incinerating everything in its path and all of its inhabitants—a sure and sudden death. Evidently, the villagers on Aogashima Island—who reside inside of an active volcano—see this as a challenge, not a threat.
The volcano last erupted in the 18th century, killing nearly half the population and forcing the remaining inhabitants to leave the island for almost 50 years. The volcano is still active.
Located 360 kilometres from mainland Japan, this remote island inhabited by only 200 people relies on the volcano’s geothermic heat to support their village. The heat from the volcano is used to cook their food and produce their main export: Hingya salt. Villagers live off the land, eating the bounty of fish and mountain vegetables indigenous to the island.
Their food is cooked by placing their meals in the ground and letting the volcanic heat steam cook them. The salt is made by evaporating three tons of sea water on volcanic ground, which produces 90kg of salt. The properties of the salt are said to have restorative powers and is used in their food and in lotions.
Mount Roraima in Venezuela
Mount Roraima/Tepuy Roraima and Cerro Roraima is the highest of the Pakaraima mountain chain in South America. “Roroi” in the Pemon Indian language means blue-green and “ma” means great
Tepuy is a Pemon Indian word meaning “house of the gods”.
Mount Roraima geological formation dates back to over two billion years. Roraima’s vast plateau of a 31 sq. km at the summit has strange and gnarled rocks, that formed when the African and American continents were pulled apart as a part of the continental drift. Surrounded by three countries Brazil, Venezuela, and Guyana it is the highest mountain in Guyana, but Venezuela and Brazil have higher mountains. Its shape is defined by 400 meter tall cliffs on all sides.
It is the source of many rivers of Guyana, the Amazon and the Orinoco. The almost daily rain has bequeathed it with a unique ecosystem both animals and plants.
The largest system of caves in the world of quartz was discovered, Cueva Ojos de Cristal, translates to mean “The Cave of the Crystal Eye.” At length the cave stretches almost 11 km, descending to a depth of 72 meters below the surface. It is also unique in that it has 18 outputs. In the cave, scientists have discovered cave drawings depicting the unusual animals and humans, only vaguely resembling humans.
Once impenetrable to all but the Pemon indigenous people, Roraima is sacred ground for the Pemons and a spiritual symbol for many other Venezuelans. The Pemon still live in the land of their ancestors. They awake to the morning mist enshrouding those otherworldly flat-topped mountains, the tallest of which is called Roraima, and take their evening bath in the rivers that flow, crystalline and icy, through each and every village. Only Pemon are allowed to live within its borders, and only Pemon may serve as guides to the natural wonders Angel Falls and Mt. Roraima.
But how long will the Pemon have to wait to see their land on paper?
Lisa is not optimistic. “These are virgin territories of great wealth, both in the sense of biodiversity and endemic species, but also in minerals; gold and diamonds,” she said, suggesting that the land’s exorbitant value is what makes the government so cautious.
“It’s also a border zone,” she reminds me, “which means even more bureaucratic red tape.”
The area borders British Guyana in the East and Brazil in the South, and the Pemon race extends beyond both those borders. Lisa herself is from British Guyana, and speaks English fluently, as well as Spanish and her native Taurepan. Brazilian Pemon are known as Macuxi – Venuezuelanlysis
Antelope Canyon in Arizona, U.S.
A quarter of a mile long and 50 feet high, Antelope Canyon in Arizona is on the Navajo Indian Reservation. The Navajo name for Upper Antelope Canyon is Tse’ bighanilini, which means “the place where water runs through rocks.” Upper Antelope is at about 4,000 feet elevation and the canyon walls rise 120 feet above the streambed. Located within the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation, the forces of water, wind, and climate extremes over millions of years combined to create the array of shapes and colours. During rain storms, water collects in a basin above the slot canyon. When the basin overflows, it forms a flash flood that rushes through the canyon carving shapes of sandstone which is essentially petrified sand dunes. With each succeeding flood, carvings of new shapes and polishing of existing formations gradually occur.
According to local Navajos, who have lived here for some time, the canyon and the LeChee area were places where cattle grazed in winter. To older Navajos, entering a place like Antelope Canyon was like entering a cathedral. They would probably pause before going in, to be in the right frame of mind and prepare for protection and respect. This would also allow them to leave with an uplifted feeling of what Mother Nature has to offer, and to be in harmony with something greater than themselves. It was, and is, a spiritual experience. – http://navajonationparks.org
the Navajo also used the canyon as a place to hide. When Kit Carson brought his cavalry to round up the Navajo and march them to Fort Sumner in the 1860s, some of the people hid in Antelope Canyon and adjacent areas, shared Navajo tour guide Leonard Nez with Indiancountry
Fingal’s Cave, Scotland
In Celtic Fingal’s Cave is known as Uamh-Binn, meaning “cave of melody”, due to the lovely sounds made by echoes of waves crashing inside. Fingal is a character of Irish mythology, the giant who built the Giant’s Causeway.
Fingal’s Cave is a 270-foot-deep, 72-foot-tall sea caveEntirely volcanic island, the many caves are formed from basalt columns which can also be found in the Giant’s Causeway and Rathlin island in Northern Ireland. The legend holds that they were the end pieces of a bridge built by the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (a.k.a. Finn McCool) to Scotland where he was to fight Benandonner, his gigantic Scottish rival. Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill. And what is myth but a fragment of truth. The legend, which connects the two structures, is true in that both the Giant’s Causeway and Fingal’s Cave were created by the same ancient lava flow, which may have at one time formed a “bridge” between the two sites.
Staffa, Old Norse for “Stave or Pillar is one of the smallest islands in the Southern Hebrides was once inhabited in the 1700s by 16 people. It became part of the Ulva Estate but it was sold in 1777 and via several owners it was donated to the National Trust of Scotland by Jock Elliott from New York in 1986. Staffa is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It’s more famous visitors included Sir Walter Scott, William Wordsworth an English poet, classical composer Mendelssohn, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Jules Verne Pink Floyd and Dr David Livingstone.
Credit: Jim Richardson of National Geographic
The slow cooling second layer of basalt formulated predominantly hexagonal columns which form the faces and walls of the principal caves. The lava contracted into prismatic columns. The columns typically have three to eight sides, six being most common.
The 1765 Works of Ossian, son of Fingal by James MacPherson was compiled oral legends and manuscripts gathered throughout the Scottish Highlands. This was during the enforcement of the British Act of Proscription that made virtually everything of Highland culture illegal and punishable by “transportation”.
Below Hierapolis once frequented by Queen Cleopatra, sits Pamukkale is from the Turkish Pamuk which means ‘cotton’.
The white calcite shelves look like ice, but they overrun with warm, mineral-rich waters on the mountain above the village – the so-called ‘Cotton Castle’ The illusion of snow is actually travertine, a type of limestone created by a rapid precipitation of calcium bicarbonate originating from hot springs.
The pools fill up when naturally occurring hot water bubbles up from under the ground. As it reaches the surface, the water percolates through a layer of limestone, dissolving calcium into the hot water. By the time the water reaches the surface, it’s chalky white with dissolved calcium, or more technically calcite (CaCO3), from the limestone.
For every 250 litres of water that flow downwards, 2.2 grams of calcium is deposited. In time, this process resulted in the formation of real stalactites, giving the region a white wintery look. Therefore, this unique place looks like a natural fortress of ice, although the water temperature reaches 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit).
Pamukkale has been appreciated for over two millennia and yet still remain a little known wonder of the world. Thousands of years ago earthquakes, which are common in Turkey, created fractures that allowed powerful hot springs to bring water rich in calcium carbonate to the surface.
The mineral deposits come from Cal Mountain’s rich spring waters and volcanic springs that were saved since thousand years. The water runs down the travertine and fills them up. The Sacred Pool’s calcium-magnesium sulfate waters are said to help treat a host of ailments including heart diseases, hypertension, rheumatism and skin problems. Drinking the water is good for the kidneys and digestive maladies. The curative waters are but one feature of the spa complex.
The Turkish government stepped in to prevent the site from being totally destroyed. The hotels were subsequently torn down and vehicles were stopped from driving on the site. Tourists are now limited to certain areas, and kept off the most fragile parts of the travertines.
To keep the travertine white and to prevent crush and damage on them, in 1997 it was forbidden to walk on them and the water is allowed to reach the terraces periodically according to weekly watering schedule. But it is possible to walk on the south part of the travertine with naked foot. Turks living there, and especially those who take care for the park, keep a close eye to pollution and basic hygiene rules.
Gyokusendo Caves – Okinawa, Japan
Approximately 5 km (3.1 miles) long, only 890 metres (973 yards) Gyokusendo Cave was first known locally and made public in 1967 when it when a student group from a Japanese university stumbled upon it. Primarily limestone the reflective waters of the river courses through the cave. The stalactites and stalagmites have been forming over the past 300,000 years. With over a million fragile stalactites hanging from the ceiling, loud noises that cause vibrations can make the stalactites fall.
There are small waterfalls that feed the river, and much wildlife including fish, bats, insects and reptiles. As the second-largest cave system in Japan Gyokusendo has over 800 meters of passageways open to the public. It
The Gyokusendo/Illuminated Cave is a favourite place for divers because of the crystal clear waters and the illumination caused by water reflection. Gyokusendo is a large underground cave and body of water located underneath the city of Nanjo in Okinawa that has become a part of the amusement park Okinawa World.
The People and the Crystal Cave…
Rujm el-Hirri: The Stonehenge of Syria
Easter Island: The Eyes of God Have Bodies!
The Secret Caves of Giza
Our Beautiful Earth!
Traveling Helps the Brain Connect!
Heavenly Signs: I Can See Four Rainbows…