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1. Tepui, the ‘House of the Gods’
These hollow quartz mountains, raising like stone fortresses thousands of meters above the Amazon Forests inspired Doyle’s “Lost World” with their mystery.
Isolated by hundreds of metres of steep cliffs, forming a unique habitat on their tops and inside their maze of caves, each hides a secret, long-lost world of unique flora and fauna.
Most known caves form in limestone – calcium carbonate – which readily dissolves in water.
But the tepui caves run through quartz sandstone, which is less susceptible to water erosion, so caves form much more slowly. They are much older.
Life evolves in these sunless labyrinths, cut off from the rest of the world. The only way in is via entrances high in the walls or on the mountaintops, which can soar as high as 3000 metres.
Most of the Tepui’s secrets are yet do be discover, these are among the most difficult places to access on the earth’s surface. You can get there only by helicopter and with perfect weather conditions (very rare).
Roughly 26 million years ago, a mound of magma strained upward through the earth beneath southeastern Chihuahua, Mexico.
This rising magma forced hot, mineral-rich waters into caverns and gaps in the forming mountain. It was in these waters that the giant crystals of Naica were born.
In the year 2000, miners searching for ore deposits 300 meters below the surface, stumbled upon the largest crystals in the world.
Massive, milky-white crystals towered around them, luminous beams of gypsum bigger than trees, nearly 12 m long and up to 4 m wide, gleamed in the miners’ lights, jutting in all directions out of the brown limestone walls, floors, and ceiling.
The temperature inside the cave though, was unbearable, reaching up to 58 °C (136 °F) with 90 to 99 percent humidity.
Without proper protection, people can only endure approximately ten minutes of exposure at a time.
To explore the cave, researchers had to develop special refrigerated suits, but the density of the Crystals was too thick for them to explore further without breaking any of these 500,000-year-oldmarvels.
In a sample taken from inside a crystal, a kind of bacteria was found that the researchers were able to reanimate. They aren’t closely related to anything in the known genetic databases.
Exposure to air, unfortunately, is not enjoyable for gypsum crystals, that were starting to deteriorate fast.
In October 2015, the cave was reflooded, filled once more with the mineral-rich water required for the crystals to grow… for another cycle of eternity
The Great Unconformity (GU) is one of geology’s deepest mysteries. It is a gap of missing time in the geological record between 100 million and 1 billion years long, and it occurs in different rock sections around the world
Earlier explained with the Snowball-Earth theory, new evidence points to 6–8 vertical kilometers of fresh rock material uplifting at the end of the Precambrian, due to a geologically unique push from the Earth’s core.
In hot environments like those deep in Earth, zircon crystals steadily lose helium atoms due to nuclear reactions.
Those atoms rise up until they solidify, creating a “jail” impassable by the next atoms, thus uplifting what’s above with incredible power. 7km of rock, exposing deep Vishnu Basement Rocks.
New studies suggest this unparalleled event was caused by the uplifting of the supercontinent Rodinia, the ancestor of Pangaea.
This same theory reverts the previous one, affirming the so-called “snowball Earth” was triggered by it and not viceversa.
Chemical weathering associated with the erosion that formed the GU likely pulled the greenhouse gas carbon, causing the earth’s temperature to drop.
But much of this still remains a mystery, why the uplifting of Pangaea didn’t cause such a thing?
4. The Blue Eye of the Sahara – Mauritania
The Blue Eye of the Sahara, also known as the Richat Structure, is a geological formation in the Sahara Desert, stretching across a 40 kilometer-wide region of Mauritania.
In the early Pleistocene, about 1.9/1.4 million years ago, the Eye was dear to thriving communities of Homo ergaster, true pioneers of human culture, discoverers of fire and maker of symmetric tools – whose artifacts are plentiful within the dome area – probably a sacred site since the dawn of humankind.
Despite being so ancient, the Eye was first photographed from space, in the 1960s, by the Gemini astronauts.
Geologists believe that its formation began when the supercontinent Pangaea started to pull apart.
They initially thought that the Eye of the Sahara was an impact crater, created when an object from space slammed into the surface.
However, lengthy studies of the rocks inside the structure show that its origins are entirely Earth-based. The eye it’s what they call a geological dome.
Millions of years ago, volcanic activity from deep beneath Earth’s surface lifted the entire landscape around the Eye. The dome slowly collapsed during the next eras, forming what we see today.
Some people believe that the Eye of the Sahara is actually the remains of the city of Atlantis, which Plato described as concentric rings of water and land.
In 2001 Pauline Zalitzki, a marine engineer, and her husband Paul Weinzweig, were working with Fidel Castro’s government to explore Cuban waters, which hold hundreds of treasure-laden ships from the Spanish colonial era.
The team was using advanced sonar equipment to scan a 2 square kilometer area of the seafloor off the tip of the Guanahacabibes Peninsula in the Pinar del Río Province
Here they noticed a series of symmetrical and geometric stone structures resembling an urban complex about 600-750 m (2000-2500 feet), much deeper than any known underwater ruin.
The team returned to the site a second time with an underwater remotely operated vehicle that filmed sonar images interpreted as various pyramids
The discovery immediately sparked speculation about Atlantis, the fabled lost city first described by Plato in 360 B.C.
Cuban marine geologist Manuel Iturralde called for more samples before drawing conclusions about the site, saying the results so far were very unusual.
He estimated that it would have taken 50,000 years for such structures to have sunken to the depth at which they were said to be found and stated that none of the known cultures living that long ago had the ability to build such structures.
We are talking about the Pleistocene Ice Age.
A specialist in underwater archaeology at Florida State University added: “It would be cool if they were right, but it would be real advanced for anything we would see in the New World for that time frame. The structures are out of time and out of place.“
A new expedition was planned for 2005 but never happened. Zalitzki and Weinzweig and every one else involved apparently gave up on such an interesting expedition.
Even if this is not Atlantis or any man-made structure it is then a very unique geological feature worth a closer look, don’t you think?