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Bookmarks 100 : 20 Most Mysterious Earth Photographs

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Travelling to Europe, USA, Asia and other continents is top on most people’s vacation list. However, outside of the natural elegant places to visit, there are a number of mysterious places, fact or legend, which intrigues scientists to this day. This collection is taken from Patterns in Nature.

Salt Piles on Shoreline, Senegal
Photograph by Robert Haas

Salt piles line the shoreline of Lake Retba, Senegal. The high salinity content of the lake provides a livelihood for salt collectors.

Biplane Over Monomoy Shoals, Massachusetts
Photograph by Michael Melford

A biplane flies above Monomoy Island, Massachusetts.

Sand Dunes, Rub al Khali
Photograph by George Steinmetz

The borders of four nations—Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates—blur beneath the shifting sands of the Rub al Khali, or Empty Quarter, desert.

Drying Fronds, Kenya
Photograph by Robert Haas

Fronds dry in neat lines around a tree in Kenya.

Cave Dwellings, Turkey
Photograph by Klaus Nigge

Cavelike dwellings built into soft rock dot the Cappadocia region of Turkey.

Fairy Circles, Namib Desert
Photograph by Michael Fay

Fairy circles, or grassless patches, spot the Namib Desert in Namibia, seen here from an airplane
Bacteria, New Zealand
Photograph by Peter Essick

Photosynthesizing bacteria in a New Zealand thermal pool absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen.

Sunflower Florets
Photograph by Jozsef Szentpeteri

Beads of dew cling to the florets that spiral inside a sunflower head.

Photograph by Stephen Sharnoff

Lichens grow on a granite gravestone in Lake Champlain, New York.

Banksia Flower
Photograph by Jonathan Blair

The characteristic spikes of a banksia flower are common across Australia. This one was photographed on a farm in Mount Barker.

Water Reflection, Utah
Photograph by Jonathan Blair

Reflecting off water, light paints peacock-feather patterns onto a rock wall in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah.

Giant Clam Mantle
Photograph by Frans Lanting

Iridescent spots surround the mantle of a giant clam in Palau, Micronesia. The mantle is a fleshy outer layer that secretes the clam’s shell.

Cactus, Manzanillo, Mexico
Photograph by Raul Touzon

Bursts of yellow punctuate a cactus in Manzanillo, Mexico.

Curled Millipede
Photograph by George Grall

Exhibiting its main defense mechanism, a millipede curls into a tight spiral. In this fashion it protects its legs—on average between 100 and 300, not the thousand its name suggests—inside its body.

Salmon Scales
Photograph by Paul Nicklen

The scales of an Atlantic salmon, such as these on a fish in Quebec, Canada, can help biologists determine the fish’s age.

Photograph by Darlyne A. Murawski

Seen here 400 times their true size, diatoms are a type of algae found in oceans, fresh water, and soil.

Basket Sea Star, Cuba
Photograph by Brian J. Skerry

The complexly branched arms of the basket sea star, or starfish, catch plankton for the echinoderm.

Cenote, Mexico
Photograph by Stephen Alvarez

Sunlight radiates through the Xpacay cenote in the Mexican Yucatán. Cenotes are freshwater sinkholes usually found on the Yucatán peninsula.

Snapping Turtle Shell
Photograph by Darlyne A. Murawski

The bony plates of a snapping turtle’s carapace protect it from predators. Snappers are freshwater turtles found in much of North America.

Mammatus Clouds
Photograph by Carsten Peter

Mammatus clouds roil in the Nebraska sky, identifiable by their sagging, pouch-like shape. The name comes from the Latin word for “breast.”
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