12 Mysterious and Dramatic Natural Wonders of Russia

The Curonian Split

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Spectacular shimmering sand dunes and wide, fine beaches are among the highlights of the Curonian Split, which separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast. Stretching from Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia up to Lithuania, the Curonian Split is home to the highest drifting sand dunes in Europe, some of which can get up to nearly 200 feet in height.

The Kungur Ice Cave

(images via: wikimedia commons)

Famous for its ice formations, the Kungur Ice Cave gets at least one hundred thousand visitors every year, with a total number of tourists exceeding 5 million. And yet, for all of this traffic, only a small part of the cave has actually been explored. Nobody’s quite sure who discovered the caves, or exactly when. The ice formations inside often have a sculptural look, and the cave is also full of stalactites and stalagmites. See some amazing photos of this underground wonder at English Russia.

Maly Semyachik Volcano

(images via: einar fredriksen)

This stratovolcano in the eastern part of Kamatchka Peninsula, Russia is filled with a hot, acidic crater lake in a shocking shade of blue-green. Adventurous travelers hike up the mountain to get a look at the lake in person. The lake is located within the active Troitsky crater, and measures 600 meters in diameter. Minerals like aluminum and copper are thought to give the lake its unusual hue.

Uzon Caldera

(images via: wikimedia commons)

Not far from Maly Semyachik and the Valley of the Geysers is the Uzon Caldera, a vast field of geothermal craters and active volcanoes, stretching over 6,200 miles wide. The Uzon Caldera also contains poisonous mud cauldrons, freshwater lakes, a berry tundra and a birch forest. The mud cauldrons are home to some of the world’s most extreme bacteria, which can thrive in some of the least hospitable environments on earth.

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