5 Wonders You Probably Didn't Know Were Man-Made
Most of the planet’s most majestic wonders have either sprung from the earth or so evidently made by human hand that their architects and designers are world-renowned.
These stunning landscapes are man-made and yet so naturally beautiful, they seem to have been crafted by Mother Nature herself.
Glass Beach, California
Once a city trash dumpsite and now a stunningly unique beach, this coastline isn’t filled with stones but instead polished glass.
From the early 1900s to the mid-1960s, everything from bottles, cans, and appliances were pushed over the cliffs and into the ocean. What emerged from the sea was smooth, polished pieces of sea glass which is now a well-known tourist spot along the Northern Coast of California. There’s even a “sea glass” museum.
Providence Canyon, Georgia
This canyon is affectionately known as one “Little Grand Canyon” and of the seven natural wonders of Georgia. And yet, few know it is actually man-made.
The towering walls and deep crevices were formed by poor farming practices during the 1800s when farmers took few steps – if any – to avoid soil erosion. As a result, ditches several feet deep were formed, and the water runoff and erosion, multiplied. Over the decades, the flow of both water and sand has helped craft the near-vertical pinnacles that can be seen today.
Fly Geyser, Nevada
Nevada’s fly geysers are an accidental wonder. Located on land owned by the Burning Man Project, the first geyser emerged in 1916, after residents drilled a well while seeking irrigation water. The project was swiftly abandoned after the water was discovered to be far too hot. Another geyser began to form in 1964, after a geothermal power company drilled a test well at the site, but left it improperly plugged. The water shot from the hole and calcium carbonate deposits began to form and grow several inches every year. Both projects combined now make up one beautifully-colored formation – thanks to the algae that has grown on the outer rock – and three cones spew scalding hot water into the air.
Rice Paddies, Asia
The kaleidoscopic waves of rice paddies in China can stretch up to 50 miles long and are particularly majestic in the morning and evening sun. The paddies wind along the lush green mountainsides of China, stretching up into the clouds and are the source of wonder for visiting tourists, despite actually being completely man-made, and an essential part of the infrastructure for Asia’s farmers. The paddies are terraced to reduce soil erosion, but the completely practical engineering feat has transformed Asia’s landscape into a tourist destination in itself.
The rice terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, which follow the contours of the mountains, have even gained protected UNESCO status thanks to their 2,000-year-old history of sacred tradition.
Chuuk Lagoon, Federated States of Micronesia
Chuuk Lagoon is an atoll in the central Pacific, around 1,120 miles off the coast of New Guinea. Manta rays, tropical fish, brightly colored corals, turtles, and sharks can be found in this divers’ paradise, which is in fact a fleet of Japanese ships sunk in World War II.
Over time, the wrecks became a hub teeming with marine life, and the coral-encrusted ships now look like they could almost be part of the seabed.