Tuesday, 5 April 2016

The Mud Volcanoes of Azerbaijan

In 2001 in Azerbaijan, the ground start to move in an unusual way seems some supernatural powers trying to get out of the ground. This is extremely happened in unexpected way, when a massive explosion causes a huge flame coming from the three hundred meters high hillside. The massive flame surrounded by dense black smoke, and heap of mud was being thrown into the air.  Bubbling and belching away like witches’ cauldrons, mud volcanoes are one of nature’s more murky oddities. So, Azerbaijan is the first place in the world for the amount of mud volcanoes, local people call them “yanardagh” (burning mountain), and other kind of mud volcanoes is found out in wells. It is believed, that volcanoes start to erupt in this territory about 25 million years ago. 

This is known as "mud volcanoes" and they’ve formed in places where pockets of underground gas have found a feeble spot in the earth where they can force their way to the surface. What had taken place was an eruption, not one of magma. Mud volcanoes are not caused by magma, rather than being hot, but can be very cold often just above freezing. Mud volcanoes are also known as “sedimentary volcanoes” never grow to the size of normal volcano topping out at about 10 KM in diameter and 700 meters in height. NASA Geologists are studying Mars planet, concluded that mud volcanoes of Azerbaijan are alike to uplands of the planet for their structure. Since, 1810 more than 200 eruptions have recorded in Azerbaijan is accompanied by massive explosions and underground rumble. Hence, gasses come out from the deepest layers of the earth and abruptly ignite. 

The largest mud volcanos in the world are Boyuk Khanizadah and Turaghai both in Azerbaijan. These volcanoes often show off as happened in 2001. It is thought, more than 1000 volcanoes are known to exist in the world and some of 400 are exist in the coastal area of Azerbaijan. However, every twenty years or so, these mud volcanoes ignites deep below the surface and make a massive explosion. Moreover mud volcanoes are closely associated with hydrocarbon and petrochemical stores underground, henceforth the gas trying to escape to the surface. Therefore lava, mud and liquid erupted by mud volcanoes are perfectly used as a raw material in chemical and construction industries and in pharmacology.

Normally mud volcanoes are not dangerous to people, because they’re far outside the city. It is estimated that more than 2000 sheep and six shepherds were killed by a mud volcano in Bozdagh, Azerbaijan. Furthermore, there’s silver lining to having a country covered in mud volcanoes. Few of them gas leaks are continuously on fire, shooting small everlasting flames into the air and some are strongly connected to the appearance of the Zoroastrian religion in Azerbaijan over two thousand years ago. Moreover the greatest mud volcano in the territory of Azerbaijan was added into the Guinness World Records in September 5, 2004. 

Uli Biaho Tower, Pakistan

Uli Biaho is a steep mountain near Trango Towers and Baltoro Glacier in the Gilgit–Baltistan area of Pakistan. It consists of two main peaks, Uli Biaho Tower, 6,109 m feet, and Uli Biaho Peak 6417 m. It was first climbed by the American Expedition team, John Roskelley, Bill Forrest, Kim Schmitz and Ron Kauk, in the Alpine style on July 3, 1979. Moeover, Roskelley included a chapter on Uli Biaho in his 1993 book Stories Off the Wall.

Then in 2006, Uli Biaho Tower June 23–25, 2006 climbed by Gabo Cmarik and Jozef 'Dodo' Kopold. In 2013, Uli Biaho Tower July 21, 2013 climbed by Matteo Della Bordella, Luca Schiera and Silvan Schüpbach. It’s one of those natural attractions that you can’t afford to miss if you’re traveling to this part of Pakistan. If you’re not daring enough to climb the peak, that’s fine, otherwise many have tried and failed. But you can still enjoy its scenic views by watching it from afar.

Moreover, Uli Biaho Tower in the Baltoro region of Pakistan new route climbed a long snow and ice gully to the foot of the left side of the upper tower, and then traversed onto the face behind the left arête and climbed the face for 18 pitches to the top. A recurring phenomenon you’ll experience in Himalayan very special some fleeting, magical moment in the mountains. World famous rock walls are here in Pakistan inviting the rock climber to test their skills.

This is the place to love, because wonderful view to Great Trango with 2000 vertical metres from base to summit, Uli Biaho tower and its never-ending avalanches, stunning Nameless tower, wild Hainabrakk tower and others. There is no doubt that this is the right place for climbers who are looking for something special. Uli Biaho demanded a spirited team not peoples, who went there just for fun and party.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Mada’in Saleh Saudi Arabia

Mada’in Saleh is one of the most remarkable and exciting archeological sites in the world. Most of us know about Petra in Jordan but very few peoples have even heard of Mada’in Saleh, the second largest settlement of Nabataean people after Petra. Mada’in Saleh (cities of Saleh) is a pre-Islamic archaeological site located in the Al-Ula Region of Saudi Arabia sector about 400km north-west of Madinah and 500 km south-east of Petra, Jordan. This is the place, where nomadic tribe of Thamud lived, which were famous for its idol worshipping, oppression and tyranny became prevalent. Mada’in Saleh is also called “Al-Hijr” or “Hegra”, this was the area, where Prophet Hazrat Saleh A.S. was being sent by Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) to guide them but they didn’t accepted his teachings and were destroyed by an earthquake.

Well, the Prophet Hazrat Saleh A.S, to whom the site's name of Mada'in Saleh is attributed, called the Thamudis to repent. But the Thamudis disregarded the warning and instead commanded Prophet Hazrat Saleh A.S to summon a pregnant she-camel from the back of a mountain. And so, a pregnant she-camel was sent to the people from the back of the mountain by Allah Talah, as proof of Saleh's divine mission. Though, only a minority of peoples heeded his words. While the others non-believers killed the sacred camel instead of caring for it as they were told, and its calf ran back to the mountain where it had come from, screaming. The Thamudis were given three days before their punishment was to take place, since they disbelieved and did not heed the warning. The Prophet Hazrat Saleh A.S. and the believers left the city, but the Thamudis were punished by Allah Talah when their souls leaving their lifeless bodies in the midst of an earthquake and lightning blasts.

The Muslims Holy Book Qur’an says; Thamud carved out homes in the mountains were punished by Allah Talah for their practice of idol worship, being struck by massive earthquake and lightning blasts. So the earthquakes seized them and they lay dead, prostrate in their homes. Then Hazrat Saleh A.S turned from them, and said: "O my people! I have indeed conveyed to you the Message of my God, and have given you correct guidance & path but you like not good advisers.   

In 2008, Mada’in Saleh has become Saudi Arabia First UNESCO World Heritage site, selected for its well-preserved remains from late antiquity, particularly the 131 rock-cut monumental tombs, with their elaborately ornamented façades, of the Nabatean kingdom. The site setting on the plain foot of a basalt plateau, notable for its desert landscape, marked by sandstone outcrops of various sizes and heights. 

The ruins of the town of Hegra are, still for the most part unexcavated, were made of unimpressive sun-dried mudbrick. The Qasr al Bint, “Palace of the Daughter or Maiden,” is the largest tomb façade at Hegra, with a height of 16 m. It lends its name to a group of adjacent tombs.  The most photogenic and most iconic symbol of Mada’in Saleh is Qasr al-Farid, a single tomb carved into a small dome that stands alone in the open. Moreover The Jebel Ithlib is a monumental outcrop topped with a complex of spires in the northeastern part of the site. The Jebel Ithlib sanctuary a canal channeled water into a cistern. Its enormous cliff faces have small sacred niches and altars carved into their otherwise unhewn surfaces. 

Mada’in Saleh is gleaned from the inscriptions displayed on the site, which comprises of more than 100 decorated tombs and 1000 non-monumental graves, bearing both inscriptions and cave drawings. Though the site is alike to Jordan’s Petra, the Nabataean city of Mada’in Saleh surpasses its better known neighbor. The multi-ethnic symbols and datable graves of the site, as well the exclusive sandstone cave structures, facilitate a better understanding of the Nabataean tribe and Mada’in Saleh, an ancient city that once served as the most vital stop on the caravan route between Southern Arabia and the Jordan Valley. 

The recent archaeological investigation is slowly disclosing the hidden treasures, and the most acclaimed and iconic parts of the site today are “Qasr al Bint” and “Qasr Al-Fareed”. While, the former is the Palace of the Daughter, which, with its 16m height is the largest tomb at Mada’in Saleh, the latter stands independently as a huge tomb construction carved into the cliff. Though the tomb was never finished, the following dedication is visible, carved into the stone: ‘To Hayyan, the Son of Kuza and his descendants’. Moreover the Mada’in Saleh ruins are surrounded by hills yet lie on a deserted, volcanic plateau which, thanks to sustainable water sources and fertile soil, has always attracted settlers. 

The enigmatic Nabataeans were originally a nomadic tribe, but their settlements began to flourish.  As well as their agricultural activities, they developed political systems, arts, engineering, stonemasonry, and demonstrated astonishing hydraulic expertise, including the construction of wells, cisterns, and aqueducts. These innovations stored water for prolonged periods of drought, and enabled them to prosper. They expanded their trading routes, creating more than 2,000 sites in total in the areas that today are Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia. Archaeologists still try to unravel the history of the Nabataeans, which in large remains unknown. In Mada’in Saleh, you can see several large boulders rising out of the flat desert, and most of the structures seen were used as tombs, all of them cut into the surrounding sandstone rocks. 

The area has multiple quarries that the Nabataean masons are said to have used to cut and carve stone blocks.  However, no buildings utilizing stone blocks have ever been found so it is unidentified what exactly the quarries were used for. The mystery may lie below the sand of the desert, with monuments still waiting to be explored. Therefore, the site has gotten a reputation as a cursed place an image which the national government is attempting to overcome as it seeks to develop Mada'in Saleh for its tourism potential.

The Scared Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake is also known “Old Man of the Lake” is a caldera lake located in south Central Oregon in the western United States. The Crater Lake is famous due to its deep blue color and water clarity. This is deepest lake in United States and 7th in the world with the depth of around 1943 feet, depending on average or maximum depth is measured.  The lake partly fills an approximately 2,148-foot deep caldera that was formed about 7,700 years ago by the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. Moreover, there’re no rivers flowing into or out of the lake; the evaporation is compensated for by rain and snowfall at a rate such that the total amount of water is replaced every 250 years. In 1902, Crater Lake and its surrounding 180,000 acres were to be "dedicated and set apart forever as a public park or pleasure ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people of the United States.

Crater Lake is a full-sized tree which is now a stump that has been bobbing vertically in the lake for more than a century. Hence the low water temperature has slow down the decomposition of the wood, henceforth the longevity of the bobbing tree. Further, two islands are in Crater Lake, named Wizard Island, formed from a cinder cone that erupted after Crater Lake started to fill with water, and the other smaller Phantom Ship, which has seven distinctive trees living on it. There are also colonies of violet green swallows and numerous varieties of wildflowers and lichens living there. The lake was in rich with variety of fish in between 1888 to 1941, whereas having no indigenous fish population. Therefore, many species have formed self-sustaining population.

In June 1853, the explorer John Wesley Hillman named the lake “Deep Blue Lake”, but was thrice changed the name as Blue Lake, Lake Majesty and eventually Crater Lake. The Crater Lake is five to six miles across with a caldera rim ranging in elevation about 7,000 to 8,000 feet with average depth is 1,148 feet, while maximum measured depth is 1,949 feet. Moreover, the caldera was created in a huge volcanic eruption somewhere 6,000 and 8,000 years ago that led to the subsidence of Mount Mazama. The lava eruptions created a central platform, Wizard Island, Merriam Cone, and other, smaller volcanic features, including a rhyodacite dome that was ultimately formed atop the central platform. Finally, the caldera cooled, letting rain and snow to accumulate and sooner or later form a lake. Some hydrothermal activity remains along the lake floor, suggesting that at some time in the future Mazama may erupt once again.

Crater Lake has a subalpine climate, in the summer, the weather is mild and dry, but the winter is extremely cold and massive snowfalls averaging 488 inches per year, and does not usually melt until mid-July. Perhaps the most unique feature of the lake is its remarkable ochre and rust hues of the surrounding rock walls. Animal life inhabiting the area nearly all of which is protected wilderness—includes deer, bears, eagles, hawks, owls, and grouse, and, particularly in summer, there is an abundance of songbirds and insectivorous birds. Crater Lake contains plant life is predominantly pine and fir trees, with wildflowers covering the meadows in summer.

This area has no pollution, which caused the lake has no inlets or tributaries; the water of lake is purest in the world. In 1997, the scientists recorded the clarity up to 175 feet, as compare to normal clarity falls in 80 to 115 feet. The lake is extremely clear for any natural body of water, but has relatively high levels of dissolved salts, total alkalinity, and conductivity. The Native American tribe Klamath has regarded the lake as scared site, who have witnessed the collapse of Mount Mazama actually created the Crater Lake. The Klamath natives used Crater Lake in vision quests, often involved climbing the caldera walls and other risky tasks. Hence, those who were successful in such quests were often regarded as having more spiritual powers. The tribe still holds Crater Lake in high regard as a spiritual site. 

Also there is "Old Man of the Lake," a hemlock log that has been floating upright in the lake for more than 100 years wind currents enable the Old Man to travel to different locations around the lake. Further, a lot of activities you can do at Crater Lake, like day hikes, fishing, and Scuba diving are most popular here. Crater Lake is a spectacular mountain lake widely renowned for its great depth and beauty although the Klamath Indians regarded the lake with much respect, awe and fear.

Friday, 1 April 2016

The Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia

Turkey’s Cappadocia region is extremely an exclusive for its beautiful nature and history. The Fairy Chimney also called tufa rock cones are located in a region once known as Cappadocia, which ran through the historic Silk Road trading route.  The ancient civilization shows the sings how they carved out towers of rock, give way to homes thousands of years old but still decorated with original frisks. The fairy chimneys are result of a geologic process that started millions of years ago, when sculpted by wind, flood water, and volcanic eruptions rained ash across eventually hardened into stuff, a porous rock, covered by a layer of basalt. Ultimately, the lengthy work of erosion instigated, the softer tuff wore down, giving way to pillars, stand as tall as 130 feet.

The harder basalt erodes more sluggishly, founding a protective, mushroom-shaped cap over each one. Just like that, a fairy chimney is born. The humans have used these chimneys for centuries, but as the centuries running like wheels, the area was raided and invaded by European empire builders. The Hittites, the Persians, Alexander the Great, the Romans, the Byzantines, and the Ottomans all laid claim to the land at one time or another. The fairy chimneys with caps have a conical shaped body and a boulder on top of it. The cone is constructed from tufa and volcanic ash, while the cap is of hard, sturdier rock such as lahar or ignimbrite. Various types of fairy chimneys are with caps, cones, mushroom like forms, columns and pointed rocks.

During the Roman times, persecuted Christians fled in droves to Goreme and built homes, churches and expanded ancient caves into underground cities in these chimneys.  Now, the rock sites of Cappadocia and Göreme National Park designated “World Heritage Site by UNESCO” and describes as one of the world's most striking and largest cave-dwelling complexes. In the ancient times, local’s inhabitants used these chimneys as shelter under threat of invasion, shielding themselves from outsiders with heavy stone doors and intricately designed traps. As the time passes, new ideas came into the mind of locals to use them as a source of income. They’ve hand dug artifacts make stunning bond with Cappadocia’s natural wonders. Every year millions of peoples come to see this marvelous place, even they can sleep in certain caves and chimneys have been converted into unique hotels.

Without any doubt, the fairy chimneys are product of Cappadocia environments, a true miracle millions of years in the making however, humans transformed these miracles into home burrowing into the magic and making it his own way to generate revenue. Moreover fairy chimneys are usually found in the valleys of the Uchisar- Ürgüp-Avanos triangle, between Urgup and Sahinefendi, around the town of Cat in Nevsehir, in the Sogani valley in Kayseri, and in the village of Selime in Aksaray. The natural beauty is drawn by the high rocks surrounding it and the fairy chimneys within; it's a place that offers unbelievable natural treasures. You can say as “Valley of the Fairy Chimneys,” and photographs can’t even begin to give you an idea of what it was like to actually be there, but the experience of seeing this part of the world with our own eyes was breath-taking.