Seen from the space, the Earth looks like a blue planet. But on its surface it is much more richly hued, with black and white sands, red water, multicolored minerals. The color changing rocks which emanate their varied colors according to the changing moods of sunlight or moonlight are one of the many geological wonders . Believe it or not, here are some of the colorful earth landforms and structures that may amaze us with their properties and their contribution to the beautiful shades of colors .
A careful look at any landscape reveals a kaleidoscope of shades and shapes . The color of the soil, rocks and water all change due to many factors like changing intensity of the sunlight or due to the minerals present on the surface and some even due to the chemical reactions that they undergo due to the weather and atmospheric changes. Want to know more on these geological wonders , click on the radio buttons to read on these marvels.
One of the Southern Hemisphere’s most spectacular sights is Ayers Rock, it is the largest sandstone monolith in the world rising from the desert of Australia’s Northern territory. With the shifting sunlight, the rock undergoes radiant transitions from various shades of bright orange to crimson. At its richest form, it looks illuminated from within.
These rocks are very sacred to the aboriginals, they call it as Uluru. The Uluru are made of variable stones like marble and granite. The color of the stone is determined by its physical nature as its chemical composition since it is the geometrical structure that controls how the rock absorbs or reflects particular wave-length of light. As the quality of the light changes with the approach of dawn or dusk, the color of the rock also seems to change.
Also Ayers rock is not one gigantic stone, but an inselberg i.e. island mountain that has been shaped by the wind-blown sands. The Uluru are remains of Sandstone Mountains that are pushed over the millions of years above the earth’s surface.
Arizona’s painted desert
The shifting daylight splurge the most radiant colors of the Arizona’s desert. At sunset, the red rocks glow most intensely at the sunset. The green and blue rocks are seen the best at dawn. At noon, the colors of the desert display a faded output and in the gleaming moonlight it dispels a beautiful light color. Every change in the color of sandstone is the result of some subtle alteration in the climate, with centuries of erosion and sedimentation revealing different layers of stone. Sometimes the desert displays hues of pink or purple with dusts derived from brightly colored shades, marls and sandstones. The Navaho and Hopi Indians, who have reservations there, use the multicolored sands for ceremonial sand paintings.
The colored lagoon in South America
The Laguna Colorado or the ‘colored lagoon’ in the Bolivian Andes looks like a vast bowl of tomato soup with cream around the rim. The tomato red color is due to the rich concentration of microscopic plants and animals in the water, the ‘cream of the lagoon’ is nothing but a sediment of salt and gypsum. Other deposits are an output of the streams and rivers that enter the lake after eroding and dissolving rocks in the nearby mountains. In other red lagoons, like the lake Natron in the Great Rift Valley of East Africa, the algae provides a rich food for flamingos. The beaks of the flamingos separate the vegetable matter from the sludge. The strong concentration of soda in the water gives the birds the pink plumage.
White sands of New Mexico
Most of the sand dunes are formed from tiny wind-blown particles of the hard crystal-line mineral quartz. But on the broad, flat floor of Tularosa valley in New Mexico, they are made from gypsum, a mineral that is almost white in color. The gypsum was washed from the rocks of nearby San Andres Mountains and accumulated on the bed of the now waterless Lake Lucero. Evaporation led the lake to dry up and the coarse fragments of gypsum were ground into finer particles as they were blown about by the swirling winds. Vast quantities of gypsum sand lies in the valley and it has been pushed up into dunes over 100 ft. high.
White Sands is home to a special set of species that have been able to adapt to the harsh conditions in the desert. Toads, road runners, and more than 600 species of invertebrates call this protected land their home.
Salt Deposits in Ethiopia
The Danakil Depression, in the north-east corner of Ethiopia, was once a part of the nearby Red Sea. But Major movements of the Earth’s surface pushed up the nearby Danakil Highlands and the depression was cut off to form Lake Karum, a salt-water lake about 45 miles wide. The water in the lake evaporated leaving a layer of salt over 2 miles thick in places. The rainwater does occasionally wash down from the plateaus to the west. The rain percolates down and the molten magma below the Earth’s surface and the superheated water re-erupts at the surface as searing hot springs that stains the rock red, brown or yellow as per the mineral compositions in them. The locals, the Afars, mine the salt which is transported by camel train to Makale and then to the towns and villages all over Africa.
Such are the hues of the earth which make the surface of the earth a palette of vibrant colors. The stunning landforms that are formed with the chemical reaction within the earths surface influenced by the natural forces make the Earth a wonderful model of life breathing within it .
P.S. You can also read some more of these stunning landforms in our previous posts . Click on the links below and enjoy reading the miracles of earth .