Elephant and Queleas, Tanzania
Base jumping, Yosemite national park, California
Water Buffalo India
Great White checking out the shark cage
Cheetahs in Kenya checking out the tourists
Leopard (left) stealing a Cheetahs kill
Elephants moving through the Serengeti
Geladas monkeys Ethiopia
Giraffes and Gazelles Namibia
Child and buffalo in Vietnam
Harvesting Kash flowers India
Kyrgyz girls Afghanistan
Mountain gorilla and baby
Chicken farm Pennsylvania
Climbing redwood trees in California
Lions in the Serengeti
Sleeping white lion South Africa
Free rock climbing Yosemite California
Lake Wakatipu New Zealand
Lions chilling out in Tanzania
Just northeast of the city of Winnipeg are huge gravel pits known as the Garven pits. Geological formations where there is unlimited fine sand/gravel deposits. The pits also have some the clearest and bluest water in the area. Many people go swimming in the pits even though it is illegal. A very interesting combination, huge pools of clean water and what looks like gigantic beaches.
A barge dredging the bottom of the pit.
Just outside the pits are the blooming canola fields.
Snow has fallen in the Sahara Desert in north-western Algeria as temperatures plummeted to below freezing.
For children from nearby towns such as Mekalis, it was a welcome relief from the scorching heat of the world’s largest hot desert.
The ice crystals formed stunning patterns in the desert sands.
Dunes – ideal for sliding – were also partially covered by the snow and ice.
The snow in the town of Ain Sefra – known as the gateway to the Sahara Desert – was only a light dusting.
Temperatures in the town, which is surrounded by the Atlas mountains, dropped below -2 for the last three nights but this is only a few degrees colder than average at this time of year, says BBC Weather’s Nicky Berry.
The snow was not a complete surprise – there were also falls in 2021, 2018 and 2017.
But the snow on the red sand dunes in December 2016 did come as a shock. Residents of Ain Sefra said that it was the first time since 1979 they had seen snow, suggesting the phenomenon is now becoming more common.
The president of Turkmenistan hopes to extinguish a massive fiery crater, dubbed the ‘Gates of Hell,’ which has been burning for decades and has become one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov reportedly issued the decree this past Saturday, explaining that the inferno’s output “negatively affects both the environment and the health of the people living nearby.” He also argued that “we are losing valuable natural resources for which we could get significant profits and use them for improving the well being of our people.” As such, Berdymukhamedov told officials in the country to figure out a way to finally snuff out the fire.
The origins of the monstrous chasm and its iconic inferno are murky at best with legend stating that it was accidentally created in the 1970s by Russian miners hoping to extract natural gas from the area. That version of events is now doubted by researchers, who believe that the crater probably formed sometime in the 1960s. Although it has been burning continuously for several decades, how and when the fire started remains a mystery. Be that as it may, it has become a genuine landmark which draws visitors from all over the world to Turkmenistan.
Before one sheds a tear for the tourist attraction, the fate of the ‘Gates of Hell’ is far from certain as this is actually the second time that Berdymukhamedov has called for the fire to be extinguished. Back in 2010, he issued a similar order to experts in the country, but the effort clearly failed as the inferno continues to burn to this day. With that in mind, there is a strong possibility that the authoritarian leader’s wishes will once again be thwarted by the mysterious fiery chasm.
The “Gates of Hell”
The Darvaza gas crater, known locally as the “Door to Hell” or ”Gates of Hell”, is a natural gas field in Derweze, Turkmenistan, that collapsed into an underground cavern, becoming a natural gas crater. Geologists set it on fire to prevent the spread of methane gas, and it has been burning continuously since 1971. The diameter of the crater is 69 metres (226 ft), and its depth is 30 metres (98 ft).
The crater is a popular tourist attraction. Since 2009, 50,000 tourists have visited the site. The gas crater has a total area of 5,350 m2. The surrounding area is also popular for wild desert camping.
The gas crater is located near the village of Derweze, also known as Darzava. It is in the middle of the Karakum Desert, about 260 kilometres (160 mi) north of Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan. The gas reserve found here is one of the largest in the world. The name “Door to Hell” was given to the field by the locals, referring to the fire, boiling mud, and orange flames in the large crater, which has a diameter of 70 metres (230 ft). The hot spots range over an area with a width of 60 metres (200 ft) and to a depth of about 20 metres (66 ft).
According to Turkmen geologist Anatoly Bushmakin, the site was identified by Soviet engineers in 1971. It was originally thought to be a substantial oil field site. The engineers set up a drilling rig and operations to assess the quantity of oil available at the site. Soon after the preliminary survey found a natural gas pocket, the ground beneath the drilling rig and camp collapsed into a wide crater and was buried.
Expecting dangerous releases of poisonous gases from the cavern into nearby towns, the engineers thought it best to burn the gas off. It was estimated that the gas would burn out within a few weeks, but it has instead continued to burn for more than four decades.
In April 2010, the president of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, visited the site and ordered that the hole should be closed. In 2013, he declared the part of the Karakum Desert with the crater a nature reserve.
The crater was featured in a Die Trying episode titled “Crater of Fire”. Explorer George Kourounis became the first person to ever set foot at the bottom, gathering samples of extremophile microorganisms. The episode was broadcast on the National Geographic Channel on July 16, 2014.
Camping on the edge of the “Gates of Hell”
We are building more islands than ever before. In the latest edition of our photographic series Anthropo-Scene, we explore the striking results of humanity’s attempts to colonise the world’s lakes and oceans with new land.H
Hundreds of years ago, the Lau people of the Solomon Islands built around 80 artificial islands in a lagoon, placing bits of coral and rock into the water, piece by piece. It took them centuries.
Throughout history, humans have sought to create dry land within lakes, rivers and oceans, which they could then populate. But the 21st Century has brought a new ambition – and perhaps a touch of hubris – to this endeavour.
We are living in an “age of islands”, according to the social geographer Alastair Bonnett of Newcastle University, UK. “New islands are being built in numbers and on a scale never seen before.”
This new generation of islands are bolder, grander – and potentially more damaging – than anything our ancestors constructed, writes Bonnett in his book Elsewhere: A Journey Into Our Age Of Islands.
The geographer visited human-made islands all over the world, exploring a variety of constructions. Giant artificial archipelagos, created by pouring millions of tonnes of sand into the ocean. Concrete-coated “Frankenstein” atolls, designed to consolidate military and political power. And dizzyingly tall oil rigs extending hundreds of metres down to the seafloor.
While some artificial structures have been reclaimed by nature, that process takes time. Often, there’s little life beneath the waters surrounding man-made islands. “All too often artificial islands are dead zones. Trying to make them live again is hard work,” writes Bonnett. In places like the South China Sea, “once pristine and untouched reefs…have been horribly mutilated: squared off and concreted over”.
But nonetheless, Bonnett found himself drawn to these artificial creations, to try and understand how they were built, and why they came to be. Whether you approve of them or not, they will tell future generations a story of how humanity saw itself in the early Anthropocene.
A traditional house on an artificial island in Lau Lagoon in the Solomon Islands (Credit: Alamy)
A ship in the Persian Gulf pumping tonnes of sediment into the sea, gradually growing an island (Credit: Getty)
Dubai’s map-like The World was intended for the super-wealthy, but many of the islands remain sand, while others are for retail, hotels and apartments (Credit: Getty Images)
The man-made Pearl island, in Qatar, spans nearly 4 million sq metres and cost billions to build (Credit: Alamy)
Swan Island in Paris was created in the early 1800s to protect the city’s bridges (Credit: Getty Images)
Built in the early 20th Century, property on the six Venetian Islands of Miami was sold while they were still underwater (Credit: Alamy)
The Venetian project was meant to be much bigger – but then a hurricane, property bubble and the Great Depression happened (Credit: Alamy)
The Palm, in Dubai, required 120 million cubic metres of sand to build (Credit: Getty Images)
Balboa Island in California was built on a mudflat, and for years residents struggled with poor infrastructure (Credit: Alamy)
Now it’s one of the most expensive real estate markets in the US, populated by 3,000 people (Credit: Alamy)
While oil rigs might not seem to qualify as islands, many emerge from the seafloor, sitting on columns taller than skyscrapers (Credit: Getty Images)
From the dry land of a Scottish village, an oil rig can seem like an alien structure… (Credit: Getty Images)
…but there are few structures more alien-like than the Red Sands Fort in the Thames Estuary, UK, built for anti-aircraft guns in WW2 (Credit: Alamy)
The future of islands? Subi Reef is one clue, part of a huge Chinese island-making project in the South China Sea (Credit: Getty Images)
As well as accruing geopolitical power, artificial islands are also helping China access oil, like this one called Qingdong-5 (Credit: Getty Images)
Island Home, Finland
Methodist Church, Gary, Indiana
Soviet naval testing station in Makhachkala, Russia
Church steeple in the middle of a frozen lake, Reschen, Italy
Lake Reschen is an artificial reservoir. When it was built, it submerged many villages, including a 14th century church.
Victorian-style tree house, Florida, USA
An abandoned hallway, France.
Spreepark, Berlin, Germany
Poveglia Island, Italy
This island was used by Napoleon Bonaparte to isolate those with the plague from those who were healthy. It was later used as an asylum for those struggling from extreme mental health issues.
Abandoned bumper cars, Chernobyl, Ukraine
Overgrown palace, Poland
An abandoned house in the forest. Location unknown.
Abandoned Movie theater in Detroit, Michigan
Church in St. Etienne, France
Update: after doing some research I discovered the above church is a composite photograph. I was curious as to why a small stream went through a church.
Shipwrecks on a sandbar in the Bermuda Triangle
Staircase to nowhere, Pismo Beach, California
There used to be a catwalk from a cliff that connected to the staircase. People could then get from the cliff down to the beach.
The Isle of Skye, or simply Skye, is the largest and northernmost of the major islands in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. The island’s peninsulas radiate from a mountainous hub dominated by the Cuillin, the rocky slopes of which provide some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in the country. Although it has been suggested that Sgitheanach describes a winged shape there is no definitive agreement as to the name’s origins.