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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: 1°C
geology rocks

7 stunning natural wonders you really should see

The Giant’s Causeway was rightly spotlighted in this week’s Olympic torch relay – after you’ve visited the Antrim phenomenon, you should consider saving up to see one of these magical sites…

THE GEOLOGICAL TREASURES of the Northern Irish coastline were highlighted earlier this week as the Olympic torch passed through attractions such as the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Giant’s Causeway.

We’re lucky to have them, especially the UNESCO World Heritage Site of hexagonal basalt columns of the Causeway. If you haven’t been there yet, take this as your call to visit. And when you are done with Antrim, consider saving up for a trip to some of these amazing natural formations around the world…

7 stunning natural wonders you really should see
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  • Pamukkale, Turkey

    This isn't an ice-scape... these are terraces of travertine, a sediment left behind by hot springs in this area of southwest Turkey. Image: Ana Raquel S Hernandes/
  • White Desert, Egypt

    The desert north of the town of Farafra in Egypt is noteworthy for its giant chalk rock formations which are whipped into shape during sandstorms. Image: Neil J Spicer/
  • The Wave area, Arizona

    An area of sandstone formations laid out in ripples and ridges due to erosion near the Arizona and Utah border on the Colorado Plateau. Image: Frank Kovalchek/
  • Eye of the Sahara, Mauritania

    This Google satellite image is the only way to fully appreciate the size of this circular feature in Mauritania (it measures 40km in diameter). It was initially thought to have been the result of an asteroid impact but now it is understood to have come about from the erosion of softer rock types, leaving more resistant types standing in concentric ridges. Image: Google Earth.
  • Socotra, Indian Ocean

    The archipelago of the four Socotra islands halfway between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula has a highly unique topography and ecosystem. Thirty-seven per cent of the plant species found here are found nowhere else on earth, including this dragon's blood tree. Image: Gerry & Boni/
  • Moeraki, New Zealand

    Spherical boulders litter the coastline at Moeraki, New Zealand - they grew from marine mud, and some have cracked and filled with calcite, dolomite and quartz, which gives it all a bit of a 'Cocoon' feel... Image: Mathieu Dessus/
  • Fly Geyser, Nevada

    Located on private property, every year a select bunch of scientists and photographers are allowed access to view the Fly Geyser in Gerlach, Nevada. It's not entirely a natural phenomenon - it was accidentally created during the drilling of a well in 1916, after which geothermal water began to escape to the surface and build up a tower of minerals through which the water spouts. Image: Ken Lund/

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