The universe is a humongous place. It’s so big that there is no exact center, and yet every single point in it can be one. We live on one such center, this blue planet. Albeit rather ordinary and small within the infinite universe, Earth can still surprise and dazzle us with its magnificent expanse and unimaginable size. Here are 15 enormous places that will make you feel tiny.
1. One of the most famous hiking destinations globally, Preikestolen, or “the pulpit rock,” in Norway, is a square plateau on top of a 604-meter-high mountain. The tower overlooks Lysefjord, one out of the 1,000 fjords.
Situated in Rogaland county of Norway, Preikestolen is one of the most iconic attractions in the country. Every year hundreds of thousands of visitors come to this beautiful landscape for an incredible view. Hiking your way to the top of the mountain is challenging, but one with spectacular returns.
Initially, locals called this piece of nature “Hyvlatonnå,” which in old Norse means “planed tooth.” In the early 19th century, a sportsman named Thomas Peter Randulf saw the cliff while sailing in the fjord and gave it the name “Preikestolen.” (1, 2)
2. Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the few advancing glaciers in the world today. Located in Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park, it is about 252 square kilometers in area and the world’s third-largest reserve of fresh water.
Discovered by and named after explorer Francisco Moreno, the Perito Moreno Glacier is Argentina’s most visited spectacle. This natural marvel is a mammoth to which no photos can do justice. The glacier is over 250 square kilometers in area with a length of approximately 30 kilometers, a width of five kilometers, and an average height of 73 meters.
As opposed to other receding glacial bodies around the world, Perito Morena is a growing one. Because of this, you can hear the ice buckling under its pressure and falling in the freezing fjord below. (1, 2)
3. Iguazu falls are at the confluence of two nations, Brazil and Argentina. It is an intricate chain of over a hundred waterfalls extending up to a distance of three kilometers.
When it comes to massive waterfalls, people only tend to remember Niagara Falls. However, when compared together, Niagara is dwarfed by the size of Iguazu Falls. Shared by two South American countries, Brazil and Argentina, Iguazu Falls has a total height of 82 meters and 275 drops instead of just four in Niagara. This awe-inspiring giant, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was visited by over 1.6 million people in 2019.
4. Spread over an area of approximately 629 square miles, Sequoia National Park, was established in 1890 to safeguard a group of big sequoia trees, often dubbed the oldest and largest living things in the entire world.
As the name suggests, Sequoia National Park is home to giant sequoia trees. These trees are located in a national park section dubbed “The Giant Forest,” covering about five square miles. There are five of the top ten biggest trees in the world here, including the “German Sherman,” the most massive tree by volume on the planet.
German Sherman is believed to be 2,300 to 2,700 years old. The tree has a height of about 83.8 meters and a diameter of about 7.7 meters, none of which is the highest globally. German Sherman is the oldest, most massive living thing on Earth only because of its sheer bole volume of about 1,487 cubic meters. (1, 2)
5. Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) is a group of 36 domes spread over an area of approximately 21.68 square kilometers. The highest among all the domes, Mount Olga, is 1,066 meters above sea level.
These ancient rock formations lend the otherwise monotonous dusty landscape of Central Australia an air of mystique and charm. The red rock mountains have found their way into a host of aboriginal stories owing to their changing color feature.
Part of the larger Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, the sandstone domes are sacred to local Anangu People. Kata Tjuta in Pitjantjatjara means “several heads.” A lot of these stories are related to the snake king Wanambi, who lives on the top of kata Tjuta. (1, 2)