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Welcome to Curious History - Named one of the 20 best Tumblrs by MSN. The world is filled with strange and natural wonders. You will find them here. Please consider a small donation (upper left corner)!

This 3200 Year Old Tree is So Massive, It’s Never Been Captured in a Single Image…Until Now

It takes a special kind of tree to have a nickname like “The President”. The giant sequoia stands 247 feet tall and is an estimated 3,200 years old. The trunk measures 27 feet across and, between the base and the highest peak, there are an estimated two billion needles.

Until now, the tree had never been photographed in its entirety. A team of photographers from National Geographic worked with scientists from California’s Sequoia National Park to try to be the first.

It took an intricate set of pulleys and levers to scale the tree, which one scientist argues is the largest in the world (if you take into account width). After stitching together 126 separate photos, we are left with this mind-blowing portrait of “The President” captured in a single photo for the first time.

(Source: distractify.com)

Ten Stunning Scenic Roads in America

  1. Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina & Virginia
  2. Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania & New Jersey
  3. Natchez Trace Parkway, Mississippi & Tennessee
  4. Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1), California
  5. The Road to Hana, Maui, Hawaii
  6. Utah Highway 128, Utah
  7. Beartooth Highway, Montana & Wyoming
  8. Great River Road, St. Louis, Missouri
  9. Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway, Oregon
  10. Going-to-the-Sun Road, the only road that crosses Glacier National Park, Montana

(Source: The Huffington Post)

The Magical Harbin Ice Festival, China 

A massive and incredibly beautiful snow sculpture at the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in China. The festival officially starts in January and lasts for a month but the exhibits open early, weather permitting. China also has great skiing, of which the West knows little. People attending the festival usually ski a couple of days while attending the festival. A great new winter get-a-way in the far East.

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Incredible Frozen Waterfalls

The stunning beauty of waterfalls, frozen in time. Only in extremely cold climates will water freeze into place, forming the most amazing, glistening ice formations.

Ice forms on still bodies of fresh water, like lakes, when the temperature hits 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) or below, but the physics of freezing becomes a lot more complicated in moving water. Waterfalls don’t immediately stop flowing and freeze over when the temperature plummets to the freezing point.

The temperature of the water in the river/stream and waterfall it supplies drops slightly below freezing and supercools, which causes the water molecules to slow and begin to stick together to form solid particles of “frazil” ice. These are tiny discs roughly one millimeter (0.04 inches) in diameter, yet this is enough to start the freezing process.

The frazil ice discs will clump together when they come into contact with one another, as well as sticking to nearby surfaces. In the case of waterfalls that flow down the face of a cliff, the discs will accumulate against the cold rock, while for a free-falling waterfall, ice will cling to the overhang.

Eventually the frazil ice will form an anchor from which it will grow and, provided the temperature of the water is sufficiently cold enough for long enough, it will create a column that runs the length of the waterfall. Over time, the river or stream will completely freeze over leaving an icy snapshot of the waterfall, eerily frozen in time.

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Climbing Norway’s Frozen Waterfalls

During the summer months, water tumbles from the clifftops in Eidfjord, Norway. But come winter, this majestic landscape is transformed as the waters are suspended mid-flow — creating frozen waterfalls, or icefalls. These stunning structures are popular with ice climbers who frequently scale the 500-meter tall structures during daylight hours. But never has their delicate beauty been captured in such a colorful way at night.

In January 2013, a team assembled by Swiss mountaineering apparel and equipment company Mammut traveled to the area, which lies three hours east of the city of Bergen. Climbers led by Swiss mountaineer Dani Arnold prepared the frozen ground by fixing spotlights and flares in the ice before extreme sports photographer Thomas Senf set to work capturing the amazing effects on film. “Photography and filming at night is a big challenge,” Senf said in a statement. “The right lighting determines whether you succeed or fail. The ways to play with the factors of light, time and environment are boundless and fascinating in equal measure.” Arnold and his team used a network of ropes and cables to suspend the lamps on the icefalls. The lights created by Swiss artist David Hediger cast an otherworldly glow over the frozen Nordic landscape. Click here to watch footage of the expedition.

Arnold is one of the world’s most accomplished climbers and holds the speed record for climbing the north face of the Eiger. The 29-year-old completed the climb, in the Swiss Bernese Alps, in a time of two hours 28 minutes in April 2011. The expedition to Norway was his first. “It was a special trip, something really different. I was really impressed by the light,” he said. “We lowered all the material down from the top of the falls and often had to improvise because of the crazy ice formations; it required complete concentration.”

Temperatures during the expedition ranged between -5 to -10 degrees Celsius, says Arnold — who is happy climbing whatever the time of day. “When it gets dark, I just turn on my headlamp and keep going,” he says.

German-born Senf moved to Switzerland in 2002 at the age of 21. His love for photography started when he was training to be a mountain guide. “I had considered for a long time how to work with artificial light, which is normally only possible in a photo studio, in major mountains. The transparency and reflective properties of ice in the sun had often caught my eye. With its virtually unlimited number of icefalls, Norway seemed like the perfect place to put our ideas into practice,” Senf said in a statement. (via CNN)

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Winter Wonderland

Winter can be as beautiful as it is frigid – the snow and ice that covers much of the hemisphere in the winter is a informativeness force like no other. We invite you to cuddle up with a cup of tea and your warmest blanket and enjoy some of the most beautiful winter photos out there.

In reality the change of the seasons from winter to summer is one of the best direct indications of the earth’s cosmic movement that we can personally experience. Winter occurs in the Northern hemisphere when the Earth’s northern axis tilts away from the sun. The minute change in distance from, and angle to the sun, creates the drop in general temperature that we experience in the winter. This angle is also the reason why it’s colder the farther up north you go. As the seasons change, you can imagine our beautiful planet slowly rocking back and forth on its axis.

Although some may hate the cold, don’t forget that the winter is a necessary part of our life cycles – these winter landscapes will soon be full of life. Most plants and animals have adapted to the change of seasons in one way or another, and the cold grip of winter allows plants and animals to hibernate or migrate. Some tree seeds, like acorns, will only germinate after they’ve spent the winter on the cold ground.

(via Bored Panda)