geological formation



Fantasy Canyon is a postage-stamp sized area located about an hour south of Vernal, Utah.  It makes up for its small size by presenting one of the most unusual erosional landscapes in North America.  

The area was first discovered in 1909 by paleontologist Earl Douglass. The rocks of Fantasy Canyon are quartzose sandstones and date from around 38 to 50 million years ago. During this geologic period, the area was occupied by a large lake called Lake Uinta. Fantasy Canyon is along the east shore of the ancient lake. Because of different rates of weathering, the more durable sandstone remained while the more easily weathered siltstone and shale washed away, yielding this spectacular intricate and delicate formations. 

Today’s geologic formations of Fantasy Canyon will eventually topple from weather and erode into sand, but new formations will appear as the surrounding soil washes away. 

The main erosional direction is horizontal; much of the area resembles piles of irregularly stacked planks, or bones, but the rock also erodes along vertical joints to form very thin pinnacles. This combination has created innumerable amazing forms including many narrow structures extending both upwards and outwards from the bedrock. The best times to visit the area are morning and evening from spring through fall.

Photos by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management.


Marble Caves, Marble Chapel and Marble Cathedral

… are an unusual geological formation located at the centre of General Carrera Lake in Chile. They represent a group of caverns, columns and tunnels formed in monoliths of marble. The Marble Caves have been formed by wave action over the last 6,200 years.

(via: Wikipedia)

photos: Nick Herber, Chelsea3048, and Dan Lundburg

Inside The Most Amazing Greek Caves

By Ellie Ross

Greece has more than just beautiful beaches to visit. How about diving into a sea cave? Or exploring one of its grottos on terra firma? There are more than 8,500 caves in Greece, offering plenty of opportunities to see the country’s nature at its finest. Some of the geological formations were used as shelters for primeval man, others as places of worship - but all will leave you feeling you’ve just experienced something truly magical.

Blue caves,  Zakynthos

IMAGE: Getty, Creative #: 565294069

Take a boat trip to the island’s famous Blue Caves, so-called because of their stunning turquoise water. Located just below the lighthouse at Cape Skinari in the north, they were discovered by Antonio Komouto in 1897 - and are something to behold even today. The glass-bottomed boats go right inside the caves and give you a great view of the marine life below. Feeling adventurous? Try snorkelling or swimming with turtles.

Cave Of Papanikolis, Lefkada

IMAGE: Flicker

Said to have been a hideaway for a Greek navy submarine during the Second World War, the Cave of Papanikolis is located 12 nautical miles from Lefkada, and is reached by a 45-minute boat ride from Nidri. You can dive in and swim right into the cave’s mouth, on to a small shingle beach. When bad weather rolled in, sailors would drop anchor inside it to protect their ships - and the vast cavern could easily accommodate even the larger vessels.

Milk (Or Ouzo), Koufonisia

IMAGE: Flicker

Located in the island group of Koufonisia, near the beach of Pori, this cavity is filled with chalky white seawater, earning its nickname Milk, or Ouzo. Rising from the water next to the cave is a rock shaped like a lion. The water’s white colour comes from the dust of calcium that falls from the rock.

Alistrati Cave, Serres (Macedonia)

IMAGE: Flicker

Greek caves aren’t restricted to the sea - step inside this low-lit chamber dripping with stalagmites and stalactites. Located 6km from Alistrati’s town, it has 3km of passages, 1km of which you can visit. Considered one of the most beautiful caves in Europe, it was known only to locals until around 1975. Now tourists seek out its impressive rock formations, including red stalagmites, known as ‘the flames’.

The Drogarati Cave, Kefalonia


It was an earthquake that led to the discovery of this epic cave, some 300 years ago. The tremors caused a collapse that revealed the entrance to the cavern, which has been open to the public since 1963. Within, you’ll discover remarkable formations of stalactites and stalagmites, and it is thought that this cave is some 150 million years old.

The Cave Of Melissani, Kefalonia


Situated just outside Sami, this cave is named after a nymph who is said to have drowned herself here because the god Pan did not return her affections. It consists of two lake-filled chambers - one which has a collapsed roof that lets sunlight spill in - and is surrounded by trees. Take a ride on a small boat through the cave and be sure to time your trip for midday, when the light illuminates the incredible blues of the water.

The Cave Of Pythagoras, Samos

IMAGE: Flicker

Visit this spot and you’re bound to feel more intelligent. It’s where mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras hid when the tyrant of Samos, Polycrates, was chasing after him. Located on the eastern side of Mount Kerkis, the highest mountain of the Aegean, around 3km from Votsalakia beach, it is remote and difficult to access. There are actually two caves - and it is thought that Pythagoras lived in one and used the other for teaching.

Diros Caves, Laconia

IMAGE: Flicker

A shelter, dwelling, storage and place of worship were just some of the former uses of the Alepotripa and Vlichada caves, located in Pirgos Diros. The entrance is a few meters above the sea and you can walk down a stairway to an underground lake where there are boats waiting. A guide uses poles to journey through the caverns and tunnels, which are eerily lit and adorned with stalactites and stalagmites. Many of the Paleolithic and Neolithic artifacts found here are in display in the museum, and suggest that the caves were one of the earliest inhabited places in Greece.

Feeling the wanderlust? See more beautiful things from Greece here.


#mypubliclandsroadtrip Recap Continues with BLM Nevada!

From striking desert landscapes to historic trails to vast wilderness, the summer roadtrip in Nevada had something for everyone.  One of the most striking roadtrip stops - the Basin and Range National Monument.

Check out new photos of Basin and Range by Bob Wick, BLM.  The monument includes approximately 704,000 acres of public land in of one the most undisturbed corners of the broader Great Basin region. Less than two hours from Las Vegas, this unbroken expanse attracts recreationists seeking vastness and solitude.

Check out all BLM Nevada roadtrip photos on My Public Lands Flickr, and view the storymap roadtrip journal!


The seven colored earth is a geological formation located near Chamarel in Mauritius. The colors evolved through conversion of basaltic lava to clay minerals. If you mix the colored earth together, they will eventually settle into separate layers. The entrance fee to the grounds is 225 Rupees (heavily overpriced IMHO) and you get to see a nice waterfall and the formation itself - a series of multicolored dunes.

Семицветные пески - это местная достопримечательность, находящаяся вблизи деревни Шамарель на юге острове. Дюны представляют собой пески из семи различных цветов. Особенность заключается в том, что они не смешиваются между собой. Вход на территорию платный (225 рупий, что наш взгляд довольно дорого), и помимо дюн, включает отличный вид на находящийся неподалёку водопад.


Happy 120th birthday to Utah, our 45th state! 

The BLM manages nearly 22.9 million acres of public lands in Utah, from the snow-capped peaks of remote mountain ranges to colorful red-rock canyons. Visit these stunning lands in 2016 for one-of-a-kind hikes, floats, camping and more! #getoutdoors  


‘Lewisian Gneiss’ - A4 illustration print now available on my ETSY SHOP 

Inspired by numerous Alan Watts lectures, Dynamic form in nature (from the expression, ‘li’), ecology and geological patterns in rock formations.

Li can be seen as a manifestation of the gestalt, defined as the inherent pattern of things.  It has been used as a Chinese expression for a very long time indeed.

Would make an ideal gift for woodland animal enthusiasts and those alike! Purchase it for your partner, friend, dog or why not just treat yourself, eh?

This A4 black and white art print measures 29.7 x 42.0cm, 11.69 x 16.53 inches and is printed on A4, 220gsm heavyweight, off-white cartridge paper.


The Richat Structure or “The Eye of the Sahara” is a mysterious geological formation in Mauritania. Scientists used to think it was the site of a meteor impact or volcanic eruption. Now, the leading theory is that a symmetrical dome of sedimentary rock was eroded away, revealing nested layers.

Top Image: A false color image of the structure from the Landsat 7 sensor, using the infrared and green channels. Credit: NASA/USGS.

GIF: The Richat Structure can be seen from space - a tiny bullseye in the middle of the desert.

Middle image: An exaggerated topographical map of the structure. Brown=bedrock, pale yellow = sand, green = vegetation, blue = salty sediments=blue. Credit: NASA/JPL/NIMA

Bottom image: A true color photo of the eye. Credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/Japan Space Systems,and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team


Thank you for following the BLM Idaho week of the #mypubliclandsroadtrip! From wild and scenic rivers to archaeological digs and ghost towns to sand dunes and caves, check out the recap in the BLM Idaho multimedia roadtrip journal:

Tomorrow, join us as #mypubliclandsroadtrip heads to BLM California for beautiful beaches, solitude in the desert, and so much more!

Took a slight detour from Appaloosa Plains to visit Isla Paradiso, where Raj has spent most of his time in jail working in the library. He has been devouring all the books he can get his hands on. He now has expert knowledge of pistachio nut farming, Mesozoic geologic formations, and Perisesarma bidens, aka the red-clawed crab, found in the tropical waters surrounding The Islands. Red-clawed crabs are of particular interest to Raj. If considering keeping them in a tank, it is recommended that you don’t house multiple males together, as they can be territorial and may fight. Only fast-swimming fish make suitable tank-mates, as red claw crabs are opportunistic killers, and tend to try to attack and eat slow moving, sick, or bottom dwelling fish. A 10-gallon aquarium can keep 1 male with 1 female; however there is still a chance of confrontation that could end in a fatal fight.

Watching the Sunset at the Giant’s Causeway

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Giant’s Causeway, renowned for its polygonal columns of layered basalt, is a magnificent, mysterious geological formation resulting from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago on the North East coast of Co Antrim, and is steeped in myth and legend.
The setting is a spectacular dynamic coastal landscape of Atlantic waves, rugged cliffs, fascinating geographical antiquity, secluded bays and magnificent views.
The Causeway forms a jagged headland of neatly packed columns which point towards Scotland.
They say the Giant’s Causeway was the stomping ground of giant Finn McCool, who lived in these parts nearly two thousand years ago, and that the giant basalt chimney stacks mark his house.
The giant organ he built for his muscial son Oisín, and the giant boot he left on the shore can also be found here.


Happy Employee Appreciation Day!

We’re sharing a few of our favorite employee photos from across the country in recognition of the 10,000+ BLM employees and volunteers who manage your public lands and resources.  


Located near the southern shore of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, the city of Tiwanaku (also spelled Tiahuanaco) was the capital of a powerful pre-Inca civilization that dominated the Andean region between 500 and 900 AD. The monumental remains of this great culture include several temples, a pyramid, symbolic gates, monoliths and mysterious carvings of alien-like faces. Arriving later, the Incas regarded Tiahuanaco as the site of creation by their god Viracoca, who rose from the depths of Lake Titicaca.  

As with many ancient megalithic sites around the world, the builders of Tiwanaku went to great lengths to construct their monumental temples. The basalt and sandstone slabs that lay around the site weigh as much as 25 tons each. And the nearest quarries that could have produced the basalt stones are on the Copacabana peninsula, 40km away. The sandstone blocks came from more than 5km away.

Perhaps the most outstanding structure at Tiwanaku is the Akapana pyramid, built over an existing geological formation. Roughly square in shape, it covers 16 sq m at its base. In the center of the flat summit is a sunken oval area, generally attributed to the digging of early Spanish looters. Some archaeologists believe instead that it was used for water storage. A great deal of the pyramid’s stones were looted for use in local homes and churches, so overall the pyramid is no longer very impressive.

North of the pyramid the Kalasasaya Temple, a ritual platform 130m by 120m in size. The walls are made of huge blocks of red sandstone and andesite. The blocks are precisely fitted to form a platform base 3m high. The massive entrance steps are flanked by two monolithic uprights. The restored portico leads to an interior courtyard and the ruins of priests’ quarters.

Secondary platforms within Kalasasaya contain other monoliths, including El Fraile (the Priest). At the far northwest corner of the temple is the Puerta del Sol (Gateway of the Sun). Constructed of a single block of andesite, it is estimated to weight at least 44 tons. Archaeologists believe it was associated in some way with the sun god, and was perhaps used as a calendar.

The surface is decorated with bas-relief designs and a sculpture of a deity on one side and a row of four deep niches, perhaps to hold offerings, on the other. Near the western end of Kalasasaya is a similar but smaller gateway carved with animal designs, which has been dubbed the Puerta de la Luna (Gateway of the Moon).

East of the main entrance to Kalasasaya is the Templete Semisubterraneo, or the Semi-subterranean Temple. Some think this temple represents the Underworld, while Kalasasaya symbolizes the Earth. Made of red sandstone, the Subterranean Temple measures 26m by 28m in area and includes a rectangular sunken courtyard. Its walls are decorated with 175 intriguing sculptures of human faces. Some of the faces strongly resemble modern depictions of aliens, which naturally has led to some interesting speculations.

West of Kalasasaya Temple is a large rectangular area known asPutuni or Palacio de los Sarcofagos, which is still being excavated. At the eastern end of the site is a heap of rubble known asKantatayita. Archaeologists have not yet been able to piece together what sort of structure was made from the pieces, but they are intriguingly carved with geometrical designs.

Across the railroad tracks south of the main site is the archaeological site of Puma Punku (Gateway of the Puma). This temple complex contains megaliths weighing more than 440 tons.


Hit the Road with #mypubliclandsroadtrip 2016 –  Week 1, Places That Rock!

For the geologists, rock collectors and earth science lovers, this week is for you. The #mypubliclandsroadtrip 2016 heads out to find Places That Rock! on your public lands.  All week, roadtrip stops will feature landscapes shaped by cool geological processes and formations – caves, volcanoes, hoodoos and more.

Our first stop is Sukakpak Mountain, one of the most visually stunning areas on ‪‎BLM‬‬ managed public lands along the Dalton Highway in northern ‪Alaska‬‬ (MP 203). A massive wall of Skajit Limestone rising to 4,459 feet (1,338 m) that glows in the afternoon sun, Sukakpak Mountain is an awe-inspiring sight. Peculiar ice-cored mounds known as palsas punctuate the ground at the mountain’s base. “Sukakpak” is an Inupiat word meaning “marten deadfall.” As pictured here from the north, the mountain resembles a carefully balanced log used to trap marten.

Sukakpak Mountain was designated in 1990 as a BLM Area of Critical Environmental Concern or ACEC to protect extraordinary scenic and geologic formations.

Follow all #mypubliclandsroadtrip stops in our @esri storymap journals: Explore #yourlands.


Trollegater, “The troll path”. A nature reserve with unusual geological formations and one of Sweden´s biggest cave systems. The kids were amazed, the dad scared shitless. No trolls spotted though.

Fuji x100. A camera capable of anything, apparently.


The #mypubliclandsroadtrip Returns for Another Summer of Adventure!

The Bureau of Land Management manages over 245 million acres of public land on behalf of the American people. Last summer, we headed out on a virtual #mypubliclandsroadtrip to “visit” those lands from east to west.  

Kicking off today, the #mypubliclandsroadtrip 2016 will feature diverse landscapes and unique resources on your public lands by activity and interest, from the best camping sites to cool geological processes and formations to ghost towns. Follow the virtual roadtrip today through Labor Day, and plan your own adventures. Explore #yourlands.

Want to get involved in the fun? Follow and share #mypubliclandsroadtrip across social media, and add your own photos to the roadtrip through the weekly My Public Lands Instagram challenges!

anonymous asked:

So i have an essay to right on nordic religion and i really cant find much about rituals and sacred places.... please help?

There’s been a lot of research on the subject so this is quite far from exhaustive, but should be enough to get you started and they are all very well-sourced so that will give you other threads to pull. We’ve included a huge list of possible sources below for you to look through. Some are going to be more easy to find than others. If you’re in college, your university library should have a database for you to look through which should have at least some of these sources. If you’re not a university student, your access might be more limited, but the local college should still be able to help you out.

Sacred places in traditional norse paganism were typically based on the landscape. Clearings, bodies of water, burial mounds, locations of local interest, and unusual geological formations were all sacred.
There are historical accounts of sacred groves where sacrificial animals were hung from the trees, and lots of archaeological evidence of outdoor worship sites. Burial monuments are a long standing tradition in Scandinavia, for a large part because of the continuing relationship between the monument and the community. Be is dolmen, stone ship or mound, burial monuments served as places of meeting, celebration and ritual.

In Gotland, the picture stones (which sometimes had cremation burials associated with them) represent more outdoor sacred sites, and evidence of ritual practice in the form of animal bones and sacred objects have been found around many of the stones. Both picture stones and burial mounds were erected to be visible from a distance, to create a sacred landscape which one could see when the looked over the land.

Sacred places could also be created through the use of depositing hoards of treasure, usually in water. Hoards have been found in old lake and river beds, and the act of sacrificing a large amount of wealth to the water is an act that creates a sacred site. (This is talked about in Iron Age Myth and Materiality by Lotte Hedeager, but that book is not solely about sacred places, so we haven’t added it to the list below.)


Other papers:

A good book on Old Norse religion in general that also incorporates your topic is Old Norse Religion in Long-Term Perspectives, edited by Anders Andrén, Kristina Jennbert, and Catharina Raudvere, which is the collected presentation papers from a conference in Lund in 2004. The Google Books preview is pretty good.

Some saga sources (which may or may not be useful depending on what you’re writing about — they are not considered reliable anymore) include:

  • Hákonar saga góða in Heimskringla (especially chapter 16).
  • Eyrbyggja saga chapter 4
  • Kjalnesinga saga chapter 2
  • Víga-Glúms saga chapter 25
  • Gesta Hammaburgensis (‘History of the
    Archbishops of Hamburg’) by Adam of Bremen (a contemporary report on the temple at Gamla Uppsala)

But most of these will also have been referred to, quoted, or summarized in the above sources.

-þorraborinn and Mod M