The Strangest Places on Earth
Buried deep in the dark ice of Antarctica, lies one of several lake basins in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, which is called Lake Vida. The lake was first discovered in the 1950s, and believed to be frozen solid.
In the 1990s, more research was done, and liquid water was believed to be present approximately 19 meters below the surface. Lake Vida happens to be 7 times saltier than seawater, with temperatures reaching 10 below. Much salinity in water is toxic to many life forms, just like the Dead Sea, and so no one expected to find any form of life in Lake Vida.
Contained within the cores of samples taken by scientists, were found to be bacteria, as well as algae clumped together. The microbes actually sprang back to life once they were thawed. Since sunlight is not a possible energy source for anything contained within the lake, scientists believe that there must be other chemical sources there providing the energy.
Lake Vida is now a noteable location for research based on the climate of Earth during extreme conditions, and scientists hope to get information which may lead to new discoveries about Mars, and any life that may have lived there.
It is one of the most isolated land forms(continental) on Earth, containing plants and birds found nowhere else in the world. The climate is tropical, the rainfall is light, and the winds and seas reek havoc on Socotra Island during the monsoon season.
Socotra boasts of over 800 plant forms that can be found no where else, one of which is the dragon's blood tree. This tree is strangely umbrella shaped, and its red sap has been used as medicine and dye. Socotra is also home to various endemic birds, such as the Socotra Sunbird, the Socotra Starling, the Socotra Grosbeak, and the Socotra Sparrow.
The main island is inhabited by approximately 50,000 who speak Soqotri, which happens to be an unwritten dialect of Arabic. The islanders are known for date cultivation, rearing livestock, fishing, and even tourism in recent times.
The apostle Thomas is said to have converted the island to Christianity in 52 A.D., however, the inhabitants there now are Arab, Somali, and South Asian who follow Islam. Socotra is now part of the Republic of Yemen, it is off the coast of the Horn of Africa in the Indian Ocean.
The Galapagos Islands
With warmer temperatures and heavy rains, the weather on these islands is periodically influenced by the El Niño phenomenon. The temperature by the sea throughout June - November is roughly 22°C, with cold winds, drizzles, and dense fog. The temperature throughout December - May is approximately 25°C, with no wind, sunshine, and sporadic hard rainfall. There are 13 main islands, 6 smaller islands, and from one year to the next, there is no guarantee what the precipitation will be like; these are the Galapagos Islands.
Straddling the Equater, the islands are located off the coast of South America in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Isabela is the largest island at 4,640 sq km, making up half of the total land space between all of the islands. 5,600 feet is the highest point of elevation, which happens to be Volcan Wolf within Isabela. The islands are volcanic, as they sit at a spot where the Earth's crust is being melted by a mantle plume.
May 2008 recorded the most recent erruption, which came from Cerro Azul on Isabela, which had been inactive for the previous 10 years.
The island of Baltra was once used as a U.S. Air Force Base during WWII. Crews used to patrol the pacific looking for enemy subs. After the war, Ecuador took over the facilities, and it remains an Ecuadorian military base today.
The Sayan Mountains
Towering peaks and cool lakes bring about tributaries that merge into the Yenisei, a river flowing over 2,000 miles to the Arctic Ocean. Since 1944, the isolated area has been closed by the Soviet Union; these are the Sayan Mountains.
Along the eastern Sayan Mountains in southern Siberia, lies a group of 25 people who speak a language called Tofa. In Tofa, it is possible to add the suffix, -sig, to a word. This suffix means, "to smell like", and Tofa is the only language in the world that uses this kind of suffix. Back in the 1950s, the government forced the Tofa speakers to learn Russian, and now there are only 25 left that speak Tofa, all of them elderly.
The mountains are also home to Shumak Resort, which is a natural spa resort within the mountains. It is possible to visit the resort from June through September. Shumak is actually a river which comes down through the mountains, and was founded by a hunter who was tracking a wounded bear a long time ago. Shumak is also called the valley of 100 springs. The qualities of the springs are the best in mineral waters throughout Russian resorts, and are said to have the capabilites to cause healing and better health. Naturally, the Shumak is overcrowded throughout July and August.
One of the worlds most isolated inhabited islands, within the southeastern Pacific Ocean, was visited by Jacob Roggeveen, the Dutch explorer, on Easter Sunday in 1722. Other names for the island have been translated to mean; The Navel of the World, and Eyes that talk to the sky.
Easter Island is over 2,000 miles west of Chile, with an area of 63 sq miles. The climate of the island is subtropical marine, with the lowest temperatures coming in July and August, and the highest temperatures coming in February. Although the island records rainfall year round, the rainiest month remains to be April.
Three extinct volcanoes give the island a triangular shape. The Poike Peninsula was once the island of Poike, but was joined to Easter Island from volcanic activity.
The fame of Easter Island is disproportionate to the population itself, as the people throughout the years have suffered from famines, wars, raids, colonialism, and epidemics. We know that giant statues have been seen throughout the island over the years, and that much of the island is now deforested, but much of the island's cultural knowledge is now lost.
Ol Doinyo Lengai
North of Tanzania, in eastern Africa, in the Great Rift Valley, The Mountain of God(Ol Doinyo Lengai) produces lava unlike any other volcano on Earth. Ol Doinyo Lengai, produces natrocarbonatite lava that is only about 500°C, which is about half the norm for lava temperature.
In sunlight this lava appears to be black instead of red, and is much more fluid than lavas that are rich in silicate minerals. Ol Doinyo Lengai's lava is lower in temperature because it is rich in rare sodium and potassium carbonates. The strange volcano is active, with the latest eruption being back in August of 2008, with many other eruptions recorded throughout the last century.
Daily tremors take place in Kenya and Tanzania because of the movement of the magma within the volcano, and eventually the eruption comes, spitting out lava and ash.
Since the lava is rich is carbon dioxide, it begins to harden once it emerges from the volcano. It has been said to hit the ground and make a sound similar to that of breaking glass. The lava appears black at first, and then soon turns to brown, and then gray, and then finally turns out to be white after only a few days.
UFO's, balls of light, poltergeists, mutilated cattle, as well as sightings of strange creatures are all various phenomenon having been recorded around the Skinwalker Ranch in the Uintah Basin of Utah.
In 1994, Tom Gorman and his wife purchased the ranch with the intent of raising cattle. In 1996, the family reported strange activity, and attempted to sell the ranch. When word of the paranormal activity began to get around, the National Institute for Discovery Science purchased the ranch for $200,000. Scientists and others have visited the ranch since, and reported various unusual sightings.
Before selling the ranch, the Gorman family reported seeing a refrigerator type vehicle with a white light on the front and red light on the back. After approaching the vehicle, it took off, floating up into the sky and away.
Various orb sightings on the ranch, mostly orange and blue, have been reported. Some of these objects were as big as basketballs, were said to have contained swirling liquid, could affect lights, and melt animals.
Mr. Gorman also claimed to see blue sky through an orange orb in the night, which floated through the sky, occasionally releasing other orbs and beings of some sort.
Mrs. Gorman claimed to see a flying object resembling an F-117 Nighthawk, which hovered about 20 feet above her car before vanishing.
The Gormans also reported cattle mutilations such as; ears being cut off, genitals being cut off, cored rectums, and total loss of blood.
Unusual animal sightings also occurred, one of which resembled some type of large wolf. Mr. Gorman shot at it when it went after one of the calves, which did not appear to startle the creature at all. Once it left, Mr. Gorman found what he thought to be a chunk of the animal, and said that it smelled like rotting meat.
Big foot, and a semi-transparent entity were also reported as sightings on the ranch.
Poltergeist activity was reported within and without the home, as doors would open and shut by themselves, things were being moved, and things were dissappearing and reappearing. Four large bulls are said to have disappeared, and then reappear in a cramped cattle trailer while entranced. The Gormans also reported what sounded like heavy machinery underneath the ranch, and voices coming from the sky.
Other strange occurrences consisted of several hundred pounds of soil being removed from the ground, the appearances of crop circles, and the finding of an ice disk.
Hallucinations, delusions, and special military testing have been some of the proposed explanations, yet they do not explain all that is reported at the ranch.
"The ranch is in the path of the Skinwalker." This is the explanation given by local Utes who claim the ranch is under a Navajo curse.
Another explanation is that we are living inside a very convincing computer program, like the one depicted in The Matrix. Time travel, and parallel universes have also been proposed.
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