Gaet’ale Pond – The Saltiest Body of Water on Earth

Located near the Dallol crater in Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression is Gaet’ale Pond, a small pool of water with a salinity of 43%, making it by far the saltiest body of water on Earth.

To put into perspective just how salty Gaet’ale actually is, you should know that the Dead Sea, the world’s most famous hypersaline body of water, has a salinity of 33.7%, while the world’s oceans have an average salinity of 3.5%. The water in this small pond is so overly saturated with iron salts that it feels greasy on the hand, as if it were oil. The locals in this part of Ethiopia sometimes call it “oily lake”, because of how oily the water feels. But some call it “killer lake”, because of the toxic gases emitted through the surface of the water, and the perfectly preserved carcasses of birds and insects on its shores are warning of the danger of getting too close to the water.

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The Hitachi Tree – A Beloved Japanese Corporate Symbol That Grows in Hawaii

Ever since 1975, a majestic monkeypod tree growing on the Hawaiian island of Oahu has been the symbol of electronics and technology giant Hitachi, making it one of the most beloved corporate symbols of Japan.

The so-called “Hitachi Tree” is one of the several monkeypod trees growing in the privately-owned Moanalua Gardens, once the childhood home of King Kamehameha the IV, but it gets by far the most attention from tourists, with staff members claiming that around 1,000 people visit it every day. Most of them are Japanese, and there’s a good explanation for that. The tree has been used as a symbol by the Hitachi Corporation for nearly five decades, and millions of Japanese grew up seeing its beautiful crown on TV every day and humming its very own catchy jingle.

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The World’s Fastest Roller Coaster Requires Riders to Wear Safety Goggles

Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster, reaches a top speed of 240 km/h in just 4.9 seconds and requires riders to wear safety glasses to protect their eyes from impact with insects or grains of sand.

As part of the Ferrari World theme park in Abu Dhabi, the Formula Rossa roller coaster was designed to emulate the Formula 1 experience, and even features a cart shaped like an F1 supercar. The track itself was inspired by the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, featuring a series of “sharp turns and sudden drops” capable of generating up to 4.8 G. But what really sets this roller coaster apart from the rest is the speed. As the fastest roller coaster ever built, it reaches a top speed of 240 km/h (149 mph). It also goes from 0-100 km/h in just 2.0 seconds, thanks to a hydraulic launch system similar to that of steam catapults on aircraft carriers.

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Australian Golf Course Pond Is Home to Aggressive Bull Sharks

You’ve probably heard of crocodile-infested golf course ponds before, but one unique golf course in Australia is home to an even greater threat that makes water hazards truly dangerous – sharks.

The 14th tee at the Carbrook Golf Club in Brisbane is a tricky one, as it’s close to a 21 hectare, 14-meter deep lagoon that happens to be the home of a dozen full-grown bull sharks. They’ve been around since the late 1990s, and even though the species is notorious for its aggressiveness, especially against humans, the bull sharks of Carbrook have become somewhat of a tourist attraction. The club even has a monthly tournament named after its unusual inhabitants, Shark Lake Challenge.

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The Wall of Hives – Box-Covered Cliffside In China Is a Unique Wild Bee Sanctuary

A near-vertical cliff wall in the mountains of Shennongjia Nature Reserve, China’s Hubei Province, is home to over 700 wooden boxes which make up one of the country’s last sanctuaries for native wild bees.

Beekeeping has been carried out in China since at least the 2nd century AD, and roughly half of the world’s supply of honey comes from the Asian country, but few know that over 80% of the native bee population is now extinct. The introduction of the European honey bee (Apis Mellifera) is considered the main cause of the drastic decline of native Chinese bees. It has brought viral diseases, has been known to attack Chinese honeybee hives, and interfere with its mating rituals. Today, the Chinese honey bee (Apis Cerana Cerana) is listed as an endangered species, and the cliff-hanging hives of the Shennongjia Nature Reserve make up one of the few protected sanctuaries in the country.

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World’s Largest Rhythmic Spring Stops Flowing Every 15 Minutes

Just east of Afton town, at the foot of a rocky mountain in Wyoming, lies one of the world’s most mysterious natural wonders – a rhythmic spring that intermittently stops and starts flowing around every 15 minutes.

Only a few rhythmic springs exist in the world, and Intermittent Spring in Wyoming’s Swift Creek canyon is the largest of them all. As its name suggests, this peculiar spring flows intermittently. You will see a large quantity of water using out of a hole in the mountain and then flowing down forming a large creek for about 15 minutes, and then dry up for another 15 before the cycle starts all over again. The reasons for this intermittent flow are not entirely understood, but scientists have a pretty sound theory.

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The Koi Fish Cafes of Ho Chi Minh City

Imagine enjoying a hot cup of java or your favorite soft drink in the middle of a pond filled with beautiful koi fish that you can actually hand-feed and you get an idea of what Vietnam’s koi fish cafes are like.

When it comes to fish-themed cafes, Ho Chi Minh City has a leg up on pretty much every other city in the world. Back in 2018 we featured Amix Coffee, a flooded cafe that allowed patrons to enjoy their favorite drinks with dozens of small fish literally at their feet, but this was apparently not the only cool fish-themed venue in town. In fact, the bustling metropolis apparently has about a dozen cafes that double as koi ponds, where the popular fish swim among patrons.

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This New Zealand Lake Is the Clearest Body of Fresh Water Known to Man

Rotomairewhenua, also known as the Blue Lake of New Zealand’s Nelson Lakes National Park, is officially recognized as the clearest body of fresh water in the world.

Blue Lake is spring fed by the neighboring glacial Lake Constance, and the water passes through a natural debris damn formed a long time ago by a landslide. This debris acts as a natural filter that retains most of the particles suspended in the glacial water, making Blue Lake almost as clear as distilled water. New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) carried out scientific tests of the water and determined it to be the clearest natural body of fresh water known to man.

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Brazil’s Unique “Coca Cola Lagoon”

Ever dreamed of swimming in a lake of Coca Cola? Well, you can actually do just that at the unique Coca Cola Lagoon in Rio Grande del Norte, Brazil, where the water has the exact same color as the popular soft drink.

Looking at the water of Lagoa da Araraquara, it’s easy to see why it is popularly known as Coca Cola Lagoon. It has the same dark hue, but very different ingredients and no carbonation. Instead of caramel, the water of this popular lagoon is colored by a concentration of iodine and iron, in combination with the pigmentation of the reeds near its shores.

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Mexico’s Tule Tree Has the World’s Thickest Trunk, And It’s Still Growing

Located a church courtyard, in the picturesque town of Santa Maria del Tule, the Tree of Tule is a 2,000-year-old Montezuma cypress famous for having the world’s thickest trunk.

So just how thick is Mexico’s Tule Tree? Well, it takes thirty people with arms extended joining hands to fully encircle it, so that should give you an idea. Officially, it has a circumference of 42 meters, which sounds impossible for a tree trunk. In fact, in the past people  and scientists alike were convinced that the Tree of Tule had resulted from the merger of two separate tree, until DNA evidence showed that there was in fact just one tree.

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Welcome to Yanjin, the World’s Narrowest City

Built along the Nanxi River, between the steep mountains of China’s Yunnan Province, Yanjin county is widely regarded as the world’s narrowest city.

Looking at Yanjin county from above, it’s hard to believe that such a settlement actually exists in real life. The narrow stretch of usable land sandwiched between the troubled waters of the Nanxi River and steep mountains on either side hardly seems like a suitable location for a city of roughly 450,000 people, but that’s exactly what makes Yanjin so special. It looks more like something you’d expect to see in a fantasy movie, or in a building simulation game than a modern-day city.

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Hoshizuna-no-Hama – Japan’s Beautiful Star Sand Beach

Hoshizuna-no-Hama, which translates to “Sand in the Shape of a Star”, is a small but charming Japanese beach famous for its star-shaped tiny grains of sand.

Located on Irimote, the second-largest island in Okinawa prefecture, Hoshizuna-no-Hama doesn’t look too different than the hundreds of other beaches in the Japanese archipelago, at least at first glance. Closer inspection reveals that many of the sand grains have a very recognizable shape – either a five or six-tipped star. That’s because Hoshizuna-no-Hama beach consists in part of billions of exoskeleton of foraminifers, marine protozoa that thrives on the ocean floor. Their calcium carbonate shells remain behind after their death and are constantly washed ashore by the ocean, creating this stunning natural wonder.

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Devil’s Bath – New Zealand’s Neon Green Sulphur Pond

New Zealand’s Wai-O-Tapu volcanic area offers no shortage of intriguing natural wonders, but perhaps the most eye-catching one is Devil’s Bath, a bright green pond full of sulfur-infused stink water.

Devil’s Bath gets its color from a combination of hydrogen sulfide gases and ferrous salts. The shade  and intensity of the green sludge depends on the inclination of the sun’s rays and the amount of minerals present in the water at any given moment, but there’s never a day that the green body of water doesn’t look weird compared to what you’d expect a pond to look like. And then there is the smell of this charming attraction, which is best described as half sewer, half rotten egg. So yeah, Devil’s Bath sounds like an appropriate name…

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Kagami Numa – Japan’s Magical Dragon’s Eye Lake

Kagami Numa is a mythical Japanese lake that turns into a giant eye every spring, during the thawing process, hence its nickname, Dragon’s Eye Lake.

Located near the summit of Mount Hachimantai in north-eastern Japan, in the middle of a dense forest, Kagami Numa doesn’t look much different than the many other volcanic lakes in the area, most of the year. But for about a week – ate May to early June – it turns into a giant blue eye that inspired its intriguing nickname, Dragon’s Eye Lake. The unique appearance of the circular lake during this one week has inspired a legend of two dragons in love that chose this body of water as their meeting spot.

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“Tree of Life” Grows on Salt Island in the Middle of the Dead Sea

A tree seemingly growing out of a pristine white salt island in the heart of the Dead Sea isn’t something you’d expect to see when visiting the world’s saltiest body of water, and yet that’s exactly the sight you’re treated to near the beach of Ein Bokek.

With a salt concentration over 10 times that of the ocean, the Dead Sea is incapable of sustaining any plant or animal life, so come there’s a tree growing there, and on an island made of salt, of all places? Within swimming distance of the beach in Ein Bokek, an Israeli resort near Arad, lies the iconic Dead Sea Salt Island, a surreal natural formation made of dazzling white salt and surrounded by turquoise water. At its center are a pool of shallow, inviting water, and a tree that has no place being there. And yet…

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