In the midst of the vast, vacant Sahara desert, just outside of Ouadane, Mauritania, lies a 30-mile wide geological oddity known the Richat Structure, sometimes called the “Eye of Africa.” From space, this natural curiosity forms a distinct and unmistakable bulls-eye that once served as a geographical landmark for early astronauts as they passed over the Sahara.
Once thought to be an impact crater due to its circularity, the unusual formation is now widely believed to have been caused by the erosion of what was once a geological dome. Over time, desert weather has caused the dome to gradually shed layers, resulting in the structure’s remarkable flatness.
The flag of Madagascar was inspired by a flag of the tribe Hovo and it consists of three stripes in total. The first stripe is vertical and it is located in the pole part of the flag. The waving part of the flag is filled with two horizontal stripes - red on the top and green at the bottom. Originally, a red-white flag of dynasty Merino symbolized efforts to keep independence during the times when Europeans were colonizing Africa. White color traditionally stands for purity and chastity, red for independence and green signifies hope for better tomorrows. According to another interpretation, green represents the coastal population, white is associated with the family of Volafots and red with the family of Volamens from the 17th century.
Grüner See (Green Lake) is a lake in Styria, Austria in a village named Tragöß. The lake is surrounded by the Hochschwab Mountains and forests. The name "Green Lake" originated because of its emerald-green water. The clean and clear water comes from the snowmelt from the Karst mountains and has a temperature of 6–7 °C (43–45 °F). During winter, the lake is only 1–2 m (3–7 ft) deep and the surrounding area is used as a county park.
However, in spring, when the temperature rises and snow melts, the basin of land below the mountains fills with water. The lake reaches its maximum depth of around 12 m (39 ft) from mid-May to June and is claimed to look the most beautiful at this time. In July, the water begins to recede.
The flag of Lesotho has been adopted in 2006 and it is composed of three horizontal stripes of green, white and blue colors. In the middle of the white stripe, a Basut black hat is located. The current flag has replaced the flag used by the military coup in 1987. It was composed of three fields in green, blue and white colors separated by diagonal lines. In the white box at the top left of the flag, Basut shield with a feathered spear was placed. The white color on the former flag represented peace, blue water and rain, and green prosperity. The current appearance of the flag, which has been adopted on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the independence of the country to express tolerance and peaceful orientation of Lesotho.
Salar de Uyuni, amid the Andes in southwest Bolivia, is the world’s largest salt flat. It’s the legacy of a prehistoric lake that went dry, leaving behind a desert-like nearly 11,000-sq.-km. landscape of bright-white salt, rock formations, and cacti-studded islands. Its otherworldly expanse can be observed from central Incahuasi Island. Though wildlife is rare in this unique ecosystem, it harbors many pink flamingos.
The flag of Kiribati, which was adopted in 1979, is composed of six ripples in blue and white colors, yellow sun and flying frigate. All this is placed on a red sheet. Ripples are meant to symbolize the Pacific Ocean, which washes the shores of Kiribati, and the frigate bird in flight indicates domination over the ocean. The flag was adopted the year when Kiribati attained independence from Great Britain. Its appearance is based on the coat of arms, by which the islands were awarded in 1937 along with former Ellicei Islands, currently Tuvalu. Likewise Kiribati was at that time called differently - Gilbert Islands. Prior to 1979, the flag was represented by a blue British official flag and emblem of Gilbert Islands.
Easter Island (Rapa Nui: Rapa Nui, Spanish: Isla de Pascua) is a Chilean island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle in Oceania. Easter Island is most famous for its nearly 1,000 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapa Nui people. In 1995, UNESCO named Easter Island a World Heritage Site, with much of the island protected within Rapa Nui National Park.
It is believed that Easter Island's Polynesian inhabitants arrived on Easter Island sometime near 1200 AD. They created a thriving and industrious culture, as evidenced by the island's numerous enormous stone moai and other artifacts. However, land clearing for cultivation and the introduction of the Polynesian rat led to gradual deforestation. By the time of European arrival in 1722, the island's population was estimated to be 2,000–3,000. European diseases, Peruvian slave-raiding expeditions in the 1860s, and emigration to other islands, e.g. Tahiti, further depleted the population, reducing it to a low of 111 native inhabitants in 1877.
#FlagFact Friday: The Finnish flag, also known as Siniristilippu (blue cross), is a flag inspired by Danish Danneborg. Blue Nordic cross reaches the edges of the flag and it is located on a white background. The shorter arm of the cross is shifted closer to the left side of the flag, like in case of other Scandinavian flags, but the cross is more massive compared to the others. Blue symbolizes thousands of Finnish lakes and white stands for snowy landscapes. The cross is said to originate in old Nordic legends, however official Finnish version says that this cross was adopted after gaining the independence at the end of WW1. The state flag differs only by the national emblem which is placed in the center of the cross.
The Giant Crystal Cave at Naica Mine in Chihuahua, Mexico is one of the weirdest places on the Earth. Deep down in the bowels of the Earth, these huge shiny mineral pillars are enough to make you feel claustrophobic. This mammoth structure has been growing underneath Mexico for more than 500,000 years. It makes for an exceptional case study on how organisms survive in extreme heat and humidity. The Giant Crystal Cave was discovered by miners in 2000 and has been featured in a National Geographic documentary.
The flag of Bhutan reflects the country´s name in the local language (Druk Yul), which means "country of the thunder dragon". This name is linked to the Buddhist monastery Druk, which was reportedly founded in the country in the 13th century. The diagonal divides the flag into yellow and orange parts. Yellow color refers to the secular side of life, whereas orange indicates the strength of the Buddhist religion in the country. The white dragon stands for purity and the jewelry in his talons refer to the great wealth of the country. The dragon stares away from the left part of the flag and his body copies the diagonal line. The current form of the flag was adopted in 1960, however it has been used since the 19th century in a slightly modified form.