Ansel Adams’ famous glass plates of the Jeffrey pine on top of Yosemite’s Sentinel Dome first brought the tree into the public eye in the 1860s. The famous image and its beautiful location made it one of the most photographed trees in the world.
The tree, which managed to grow despite its lack of soil, lived atop the dome for hundreds of years but died in 1977 during a severe drought. It remained standing for many more years, but ultimately collapsed in a fierce storm in 2003.
Abu Simbel Temples
The Abu Simbel temples are two enormous rock temples located at Abu Simbel, a Nubian village in Southern Egypt not far from Sudan. They are part of a complex of UNESCO World Heritage Sites known as the “Nubian Monuments.” The temples were carved from the mountainside by Pharoh Ramses II in the 13th Century BC, as a monument to himself and his queen Nefertari and to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh.
The temples used to be on the western bank of Lake Nasser but were painstakingly moved to an artificial hill in 1968. They had to be relocated or they would have been flooded when the dam of Aswan was built. It is still possible to visit the Abu Simbel temples, but not in their original location.
Wall Arch used to be a natural sandstone arch that stood in the Arches National park in southeastern Utah. The arch was located along the park’s famous and popular Devils Garden Trail and was ranked 12th in size of the park’s 2,000 arches. The opening beneath the arch measured 71 feet wide by 33.5 feet tall. Sometime in the night between August 4th and August 5th in 2008, the arch caved in.
Although we will never get the chance to see this arch, it is important to note that all natural arches are temporary and eventually collapse due to erosion and gravity, so just enjoy any that you are lucky enough to see.
The Pink and White Terraces
New Zealand’s breathtaking Pink and White Terraces were considered a natural wonder of the world. The terraces formed over thousands of years when water that was rich in silica emerged from springs and boiling geysers and crystallized into enormous tiered staircases. The minerals in the springs gave the rock their pink and white hue.
The terraces were destroyed in the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886, which is also worth discussing. Aristocrats used to visit this site and even bathed in the water, but sadly no one could experience this wonder in over 100 years.
The Chacaltaya Glacier was Bolivia’s one and only ski resort and it had some of the best skiing in the world. Sadly, a few decades of El Niño and the 18,000-year-old glacier became a thing of the past and disappeared completely in 2009. The ’60s and ’70s were a great time for skiing in the region, but a massive meltdown in 1980, degraded the ice terribly.
It is now the location of a research observatory. If you look at the ski lodge in the picture, the reality of the weather changes becomes clear.