This is more of a curiosity and not visually impressive, but 83-42 is believed to be the northernmost permanent point of land on earth. It is tiny, only 35m by 15m and 4m high, but is about 400 miles from the north pole. It beat the previous record holder, ATOW1996, when it was discovered in 1998, and lichens were found growing on it, suggesting it was not just one of the temporary gravel bars that are found in that region, which are regularly pushed around by the rough seas. The picture above features what is currently the northernmost point on land, one of the temporary gravel bars, photographed in 2007, as I could find no photos of 83-42 (For some reason, nobody feels the need to produce a photograph of a tiny rock in the middle of nowhere, which only five people have ever stepped foot on).
Rotorua is a city on the southern shores of the lake of the same name, in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island of New Zealand. The city is known for its geothermal activity, with a number of geysers, notably the Pohutu Geyser at Whakarewarewa, and boiling mud pools (pictured above) located in the city. This thermal activity owes itself to the Rotorua caldera on which the city lies. Rotorua is also a top adventure destination and is New Zealand’s Maori cultural heartland. Rotorua city is renowned for its unique “rotten eggs” aroma, which is caused by the geothermal activity releasing sulphur compounds into the atmosphere. If you are ever visiting New Zealand – this is a city you must see. It was once home to the famed Pink and White Terraces and you can visit thermal wonderlands with sights that are truly astounding.
3. Don Juan Pond
With a salinity of over 40%, Don Juan Pond is the saltiest body of water in the world. It is named after the two pilots who first investigated the pond in 1961, Lt Don Roe and Lt John Hickey. It is a small lake, only 100m by 300m, and on average 0.1m deep, but it is so salty that even in the Antarctic, where the temperature at the pond regularly drops to as low as -30 degrees Celsius, it never freezes. It is 18 times saltier than sea water, compared to the Dead Sea which is only 8 times saltier than sea water.
2. Iceberg B-15
Iceberg B-15 was the largest ever recorded iceberg. It had an area of 3,100 km², making it larger than the island of Jamaica, and was created when part of the Ross Ice Shelf broke off in March 2000. In 2003, it broke apart, and one of the larger pieces (called B-15a) drifted north, eventually smashing into a glacier in 2005, breaking off an 8-km² section and forcing many antarctic maps to be rewritten. It drifted along the coast and eventually ran aground, breaking up once again. In 2006, a storm in Alaska (that’s right, Alaska) caused an ocean swell that travelled 13,500km, over 6 days, to Antarctica and broke up the largest remaining part even more. Almost a decade on, parts of the iceberg have still not melted, with the largest remaining part, still called B-15a, having an area of 1,700 km². The picture above shows B-15a (top left) in 2005, after drifting west into the Drygalski Glacier (bottom), breaking the end off into several pieces.
1. Guaíra Falls
Located on the Parana river the Guaíra Falls were, in terms of total volume, the largest waterfall on earth. 1,750,000 cubic feet of water fell over this waterfall each second on average, compared to just 70,000 cubic feet per second for Niagra Falls. However, the falls were flooded in 1982 when a dam was created to take advantage of this massive flow rate. The Itaipu Dam is now the second most powerful hydroelectric dam in the world, after the Three Gorges Dam. The Itaipu Dam supplies 90% of the power consumed by Paraguay, and 19% of the power consumed by Brazil, including Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.