- Ice Cave Near The Mutnovsky Volcano, Russia - Ice caves like these form in the glaciers surrounding the Mutnovsky Volcano in Russia. Some of them are formed by vents that release volcanic heat and gases called fumaroles. (photo by Florian Wizorek)
- Glowworms Cave, New Zealand - The Waitomo glowworm caves are home to a unique insect – the glowworm. These insects hang glistening silken strands from the ceiling of the cave and glow to attract unsuspecting prey. (photo by waitomo.com)
- Son Doong Cave, Vietnam - This is the largest currently known cave in the world. It is filled with countless wonders including isolated ecosystems, weather systems and geological formations. (photo by National Geographic)
- Batu Caves, Malaysia - These caves have been used by English and Chinese settlers as well as the indigenous Temuan people. The bat guano in the cave was mined for agricultural purposes, but now the cave is filled with statues and is open to visitors. (photo by Danny Xeero)
- Marble Caves, Patagonia - Theses caves are known for the spectacular reflections that the turquoise water casts on the white marble ceiling of the cave. They are also called the Marble Cathedral because of their beautiful and arching forms. (photo by kellywhite)
- Phraya Nakhon Cave, Thailand - This cave was historically a popular visiting place for local kings because of the illumination provided by the collapsed roofs. The pavilion in the center was built for the visit of King Chulalongkorn in 1890. (photo by Wasitpol Unchanakorrakit)
- Ellison’s Cave, United States - This photograph is of the Fantastic Cave pit, part of Ellison’s Cave in the state of Georgia. It is a popular attraction for pit cavers – those who enjoy rappelling down vertical subterranean drops. (photo by secondglobe.com)
- Vatnajokull Glacier Cave, Iceland - This cave is located in the largest glacier in Europe. Caves like these form due to melting glacial icewater, but they can be dangerous because glaciers are constantly breaking and changing. (photo by Einar Runar Sigurdson)
- Cave in Algarve, Portugal - Due to its location, the cave is prone to various seaside formations because of the rock face’s relative solubility in water. This specific cave near Lagos is accessible only by water. (photo by Bruno Carlos)
- Reed Flute Cave, China - The Reed Flute Cave in Guangxi, China has been visited by tourists for at least 1200 years. The cave is home to a spectacular array of stalagmites and stalactites. It is named for the reeds that grow at its mouth, which can be made into flutes. (photo by Pasquale di Pilato)
It’s that time of year again. As each year passes, the holiday season seems to start earlier with Christmas ads appearing before we even have time to put away our Halloween costumes. However your family celebrates this time of year, remember that Christmas never came in a box - it’s a time to remember what’s important in life and spend it with the ones you love.
No other artist has ever captured the sentiment of the holiday season like Norman Rockwell. Rockwell is America’s most beloved early 20th century illustrator. His connection to holiday-inspired art can be traced to his youth, when at the tender age of 15, a parishioner of his family’s church employed his talents for Christmas card designs.
As an adult, Rockwell would become as synonymous with the holidays as Santa Claus himself. He also became the most famous fixture at Hallmark, the greeting card company that continues to market his holiday illustrations. It’s also likely that Rockwell will retain his unsurpassed world record of creating more covers for a single magazine – he illustrated more than 300 covers for The Saturday Evening Post.
He captured life of early 20th century American society in such a unique way that his style his undeniable and easy to recognize. His art shows the wonder and joy of life during a simpler time in American culture, one not obsessed with youth and technology. His art joyfully depicts real people in recognizable situations, enjoying life and love together. Merry Christmas to you and yours from Curious History.
Learn all about his life and work at the Norman Rockwell Museum online.
Also known as Mary Fields, Stagecoach Mary was one of the toughest ladies of the Old West. Born as a slave on a Tennessee plantation in 1832, she gained her freedom after the Civil War and the resulting abolition of slavery. After the Civil War Mary made her way West where she eventually settled in Cascade County, Montana.
In Montana, Mary would gain a reputation as one of the toughest characters in the territory. Unlike most women of the Victorian era, Mary had a penchant for whiskey, cheap cigars, and brawling. It was not uncommon for men to harass her because of her race or her gender. Those who earned her disfavor did so at their own risk, as the six foot tall, two hundred pound woman served up a mean knuckle sandwich. According to her obituary in Great Falls Examiner, “she broke more noses than any other woman in Central Montana”.
In Montana, Mary made a living doing heavy labor for a Roman Catholic convent. She did work such as carpentry, chopping wood and stone work. However, it was her job of transporting supplies to the convent by wagon that would earn her the name “Stagecoach Mary”. The job was certainly dangerous as she braved fierce weather, bandits, robbers and wild animals. In one instance her wagon was attacked by wolves, causing the horses to panic and overturn the wagon. Throughout the night Stagecoach Mary fought off several wolf attacks with a rifle, a ten gauge shotgun, and a pair of revolvers.
Mary’s job with the convent ended when another hired hand complained it was not fair that she made more money than him to the townspeople and the local bishop. When the bishop dismissed his claims, he went to a local saloon, saying that it was not fair that he should have to work with a black woman (he said something much more obscene). In response, Mary shot him in the bum. The bishop fired Mary, and she was out of a job.
After a failed attempt at running a restaurant, Stagecoach Mary was hired to run freight for the US Postal Service. Today she holds the distinction of being the first African American postal employee. Despite delivering parcels to some of the most remote and rugged areas of Montana, Mary gained a reputation for always delivering on time regardless of the weather or terrain.
At the age of seventy, Stagecoach Mary retired from the parcel business and opened a laundry. In one incident when a customer refused to pay, the 72-year-old woman knocked out one of his teeth. For the remainder of her life, Mary settled down to peace and quiet, drinking whiskey and smoking cheap cigars. She passed away in 1914 at the age of 82.
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)
"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead." - Nelson Mandela, 2002
You can learn about how he inspired the world in the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory’s online exhibitions and archives.
- Dead Horse Mill, Crystal, Colorado, United States (source)
- Mont Saint, Michel, France (source)
- Fairytale Tree Tunnel, Ireland (source)
- Lake Brienz, Switzerland (source)
- Grand Canyon Skywalk, Arizona, United States (source)
- Maroon Bells, Colorado, United States (source)
- Forest Bridge, Japan (source)
- Enchanted Forest, Bavaria, Germany (source)
- Bend in the Yangtze River, China (source)
- The Matterhorn towering over the village of Zermatt, Swiss Alps (source - © Brian Jannsen)
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)