Natural Wonders of the USA
This last Monday, most of the United States got to witness their first Solar Eclipse in 38 years. The path of Totality ran from Oregon to South Carolina, and most of the adjoining states got to experience some amount of darkness. Like many others, this was my first Solar Eclipse experience. We only got about 75% coverage, but it was eerie nonetheless. It got dark around 1:15, and I was sitting on the couch with my dog as we watched it through the windows (I waited too long to get glasses, so we stayed inside for most of it). Once it reached its peak, I noticed a change in the energy and stepped outside to investigate. The first thing I noticed was how still and quiet everything was. My outside cat's meowing was the only thing I heard, and it was unsettling to think that everything was just waiting for the phenomena to pass. It was an incredible experience, and I hope that I get to see it again when the next eclipse passes over in 2024. But 2024 is seven years away. What can we do to satisfy our natural curiosity during that time? Luckily for us, there are natural wonders all over the US that we can enjoy. Are you ready for an adventure?
Let's begin with one of the most common natural attractions in the US: The Geysers of Yellowstone. According to their website, "Geysers are hot springs that erupt periodically. The eruptions are the result of super-heated water below-ground becoming trapped in channels leading to the surface. The hottest temperatures are at the bottom of these channels (nearer the hot rock that heats the water) but the deep water cannot vaporize because of the weight of the water above. Instead, steam is sent upwards in bubbles, collecting in the channelís tight spots until they essentially become clogged, leading to a point where the confined bubbles actually lift the water above, causing the geyser to overflow."
Who wouldn't want to see that at least once?
Another interesting phenomenon is Thor's Well in Oregon. This "gaping sinkhole" off the Oregon coast seems to be draining the sea and is a hotspot for nature lovers and photographers. It's best seen at high tide or during a storm, but be careful not to get swept away!
If you want something a little drier, and you have a lot of time to spare, you might consider checking out the Sailing Stones of Death Valley. These rocks move across the desert on their own, leaving behind tracks to show their progress. Some people believe it's because of the minerals in the stones reacting to the desert, while others believe it's because of ice formations that push the rocks forward. Whatever you believe, be prepared to wait a long time since these rocks only move a few inches per second.
Need a little more action? Why not witness a live Volcano Eruption? Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It has been erupting continuously since 1983 and was recently featured in the news when part of it collapsed in 2005 and the resulting lava flow destroyed some houses in 2008.
Don't worry; things have calmed down since then, and you can now take a 5-day tour to visit the Volcano yourself.
These are some of my personal favorites, but the US has no shortages of caves, waterfalls, and natural wonders for you to explore.
For more ideas and destinations, visit Business Insider, Only in Your State, and Popular Science.You can also check out Time and Date to see when the next eclipse will be. All photos were taken from their respective websites.
Where's your favorite natural phenomenon? Let us know!