40 unique natural wonders of the world (21 – 25)

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21. Kitum Cave and other caves of Mt. Elgon

Kitum Cave, Kenya
Kitum Cave, Kenya / datakid musicman, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
Where? Africa, Kenya
Why unique? Group of five unique caves which to a large extent have been formed by elephants who over many thousands of years have mined salt here. These seem to be the only caves which have been created by the elephants – but there are caves in South America which have been created by other, now extinct animals.

22. Lake Bonney

Lake Bonney from satellite, Antarctica. Inscription "Lake Bonney" is on the eastern lobe.
Lake Bonney from satellite. Inscription "Lake Bonney" is on the eastern lobe. / USGS, public domain
Where? Antarctica, Victoria Land
Why unique? The only known lake in the world which is saturated with the “laughing gas” (nitrous oxide).

23. Lake Tele

Mysterious Lake Tele, Republic of Congo
Mysterious Lake Tele / Photo courtesy of Tom Klaytor, CC BY 2.0
Where? Africa, Republic of the Congo
Why unique? The last place on Earth (except the oceans) with some chances to find large, hitherto unknown species of animals. This remote lake in the middle of large rainforest is a site of exotic legends about large, fierce predatory animals – mokele-mbembe and emela-ntouka.

24. Liang Bua

Liang Bua cave, Flores, Indonesia
Liang Bua cave, Flores, Indonesia / , Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
Where? Asia, Indonesia
Why unique? The only place in the world where have been found remnants of Homo floresiensis – dwarf people who lived on Flores Island (and, possibly – other places too) some 50 thousand years ago.

25. Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island / David Stanley, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0
Where? Australia
Why unique? The current Lord Howe Island is only 0,25% of the former area of now lost enormous island. For millions of years unique life forms evolved on this island – and now thousands of unique animal and plant species live only on this small remnant of the former island and nowhere else in the world.
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Map, 40 unique natural wonders of the world

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Sima Humboldt and Sima Martel: 4.685500, -64.218500
Sistema Zacaton: 22.995108, -98.164583
Catatumbo Lightning: 8.931131, -72.162824
Morning Glory of Carpentaria Gulf: -17.740678, 139.547441
Yungay - the driest place in the world: -24.065631, -69.863882
Christmas Island subtropical forest and red crabs: -10.485014, 105.642492
Dallol hot springs and geysers: 14.237118, 40.297959
Vailulu\'u Eel City and Moat of Death: -14.215568, -169.058455
Forest on Robinson Crusoe Island: -33.651420, -78.823218
Moconá Falls (Yucumã Falls): -27.149555, -53.887733
Forest of daisy trees in Santa Cruz: -0.625712, -90.391116
Vallée de Mai: -4.331052, 55.737449
Blood Falls, Antarctica: -77.720735, 162.261887
Rokeb di Firmihin: 12.480190, 54.014032
North-West Eifuku Champagne Vent: 21.489573, 144.038172
Daallo Frankincense Forest: 10.788524, 47.266641
Cave of the Crystals, Naica: 27.851483, -105.510956
Jellyfish Lake: 7.161110, 134.376290
Black Hole of Andros: 23.975677, -77.702122
Lake Tele: 1.345011, 17.150366
Caño Cristales: 2.264165, -73.794515
Lake Bonney: -77.716908, 162.399789
Usterling Growing Rock (Johannisfelsen): 48.662246, 12.648607
Daikoku Sulfur Cauldron: 21.324317, 144.193789
Oklo Mines: -1.400021, 13.160274
Ikaite tufa columns in Ikka Fjord: 61.191163, -48.027942
Patomskiy Crater: 59.284685, 116.589299
Ol Doinyo Lengai: -2.759612, 35.914042
Abanda Caves - caves of unique bat-eating crocodiles: -1.444192, 9.699241
Liang Bua: -8.530869, 120.443400
Kelimutu lakes: -8.767335, 121.817027
Aldabra: -9.418546, 46.343564
Lord Howe Island: -31.552251, 159.078896
Kitum Cave: 1.027796, 34.754435
Goualougo Triangle: 2.141059, 16.494583
Chocolate Hills: 9.798233, 124.168465
Blue garnets of Behily: -24.257679, 45.401682
Hypersaline lakes beneath the Devon Ice Cap: 75.319816, -82.883638
Sireneviy Kamen - the only find of charoite: 58.342442, 119.092417
Merelani Hills - the only find of tanzanite: -3.560646, 37.028096

The unique underworld

There were times when people really lived in caves. Not all people – but many. Now, these times have passed and caves seem to be a weird, even frightening and at the same time exciting environment to us.

There are known tens of thousands of caves around the world and this list is increasing fast. Many caves are amazing but some are just unique. Just think about these cases:

Entrance into Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Philippines
Entrance into Puerto Princesa Subterranean River / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
  • Movile Cave in Romania has its own small ecosystem with 33 species of small critters which live only here and nowhere else in the world. This cave was isolated from the outer world for 5.5 million years.
  • Khoun Xe Cave in Laos has the largest rimstone pools in the world and… the largest spiders in the world! Their leg span is 30 cm!
  • Puerto Princesa Subterranean River in the Philippines has 8.4 long cave river which can be navigated for 4.2 kilometers deep.
  • Lechuguilla Cave in the United States is one of the most beautiful caves in the world. We all known such cave formations (speleothems) as stalactites and stalagmites. But here are found some other, nearly unique kinds of speleothems: such as hydromagnesite ballons and U-loops.
  • Gruta de las Canicas in Mexico has some 200 million cave pearls! In fact the whole cave is covered with them. Other caves are proud of they’ve got one, two. But here… 200 million!
  • Sistema Roraima Sur in Venezuela is the world’s longest known cave in the quartzites. Here also are found unique cave formations, unlike to anything else in the world.
Chandelier Ball Room in Lechuguilla Cave, United States
Chandelier Ball Room in Lechuguilla Cave, United States / Comisión Mexicana de Filmaciones, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.5

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