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Sydney's Bondi Beach. One of the city’s most popular tourist destinations, the beach gets its name from the Aboriginal word “Bondi” that means waves breaking over rocks.
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Aircraft Boneyard
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The largest aircraft storage and preservation facility in the world is located at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, USA. The boneyard – run by the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group – contains more than 4,400 retired American military and government aircrafts.
Port of Antwerp
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The Port of Antwerp in Belgium is the second largest port in Europe, behind the Port of Rotterdam. Over the course of a year, the port handles more than 71,000 vessels and 314 million tonnes of cargo. That weight is roughly equal to 68% of the mass of all living humans on the planet.
Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant
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The Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant in Seville, Spain, contains 2,650 heliostat mirrors that focus the sun’s thermal energy to heat molten salt flowing through a 140-metre-tall central tower. The molten salt then circulates from the tower to a storage tank, where it is used to produce steam and generate electricity.
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Central Park in New York City, USA spans 341 hectares, which is 6% of the island of Manhattan. One of the most influential innovations in the park’s design was its ‘separate circulation systems’ for pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders, and cars. The park contains numerous tennis courts and baseball fields, an ice-skating rink, and a swimming pool. It also serves as the finish line for the New York City Marathon and New York City Triathlon.
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Olive tree groves cover the hills of Córdoba, Spain. Approximately 90% of all harvested olives are turned into oil; the remaining 10% are eaten as table olives.
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Every year, tulip fields in Lisse, Netherlands begin to bloom in March and are in peak bloom by late April. The Dutch produce a total of 4.3 billion tulip bulbs each year, of which 53% (2.3 billion) is grown into cut flowers. Of these, 1.3 billion are sold in the Netherlands as cut flowers and the remainder is exported: 630 million bulbs to Europe and 370 million to the rest of the world.
Moab Potash Evaporation Ponds
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Evaporation ponds are visible at the potash mine in Moab, Utah, USA. The mine produces muriate of potash, a potassium-containing salt that is a major component in fertilisers. The salt is pumped to the surface from underground brines and dried in massive solar ponds that vibrantly extend across the landscape. As the water evaporates over the course of 300 days, the salts crystallise out. The colours that are seen here occur because the water is dyed a deep blue, as darker water absorbs more sunlight and heat, thereby reducing the amount of time it takes for the water to evaporate and the potash to crystallise.
Arlit Uranium Mine
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The Arlit Uranium Mine is located in Arlit, Niger. French nuclear power generation and nuclear weapons are both dependent on the uranium that is extracted from the mine – more than 3,400 tonnes per year.
Qinhuangdao Coal Terminal
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The coal terminal at the Port of Qinhuangdao in China is the largest coal shipping facility in the country. From here, approximately 210 million tonnes of coal are transported to coal-burning power plants throughout southern China every year.
Marabe Al Dhafra
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The villas of Marabe Al Dhafra in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates are home to approximately 2,000 people. Located in one of the hottest regions of the world, the record high temperature here is 49.2°C.
Lake Oroville Houseboats
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Moored houseboats float peacefully on the New Bullards Bar Reservoir in Yuba County, California, USA.
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Because many cities in the American state of Florida contain master-planned communities, often built on top of waterways in the latter half of the twentieth century, there are a number of intricate designs that are visible from above, like this neighborhood in Delray Beach.
Dadaab Refugee Camp
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Hagadera, seen here on the right, is the largest section of the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Northern Kenya and is home to 100,000 refugees. To cope with the growing number of displaced Somalis arriving at Dadaab, the UN has begun moving people into a new area called the LFO extension, seen here on the left. Dadaab is the largest refugee camp in the world with an estimated total population of 400,000.
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The planned city of La Plata – the capital city of the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina – is characterised by its strict, square grid pattern. At the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris, the new city was awarded two gold medals in the categories ‘City of the Future’ and ‘Better Performance Built’.
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
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Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport stretches across 70 square kilometres in Texas, USA. The facility is the tenth busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic, accommodating more than 64 million passengers each year.
Port of Singapore
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Cargo ships and tankers – some weighing up to 300,000 tonnes – wait outside the entry to the Port of Singapore. The facility is the world’s second-busiest port in terms of total tonnage, shipping a fifth of the world’s cargo containers and half of the world’s annual supply of crude oil.
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A spiralling interchange consisting of left-turning ramps connects two highways in Jacksonville, Florida, USA.
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Sun Lakes, Arizona, USA is a planned community with a population of approximately 14,000 residents, most of whom are senior citizens. According to US census data, only 0.1% of the community’s 6,683 households are home to children under the age of 18.
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Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia is the largest religious monument in the world (it was first Hindu, then Buddhist). Constructed in the twelfth century, the 820,000-square metre site features a moat and forest that harmoniously surround a massive temple at its centre.
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The Eixample District in Barcelona, Spain is characterised by its strict grid pattern and apartments with communal courtyards. This thoughtful and visionary design was the work of Ildefons Cerdà (1815–1876). His plan features broad streets that widen at octagonal intersections to create greater visibility with increased sunlight, better ventilation, and more space for short-term parking.
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Ipanema Beach is located in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Recognised as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the sand is divided into segments by lifeguard towers known as ‘postos’.
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Burning Man is a week-long, annual event held in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, USA. Drawing more than 65,000 participants each year, the event is described as an experiment in community, art, self-expression, and radical self-reliance.
Southern California Logistics Airport Graveyard
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The Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California, USA contains an aircraft boneyard with more than 150 retired planes. Because the demand for jumbo jets has dropped significantly in the last two decades in favour of smaller, more affordable twin-engine planes, many large aircrafts have been retired. The dry conditions in Victorville – located on the edge of the Mojave Desert – limits the corrosion of metal, meaning planes can be stored here for years while they are stripped for spare parts.
Iron Ore Mine Tailings Pond
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Tailings are the waste and by-products generated by mining operations. The tailings seen here were pumped into the Gribbens Basin, next to the Empire and Tilden Iron Ore Mines in Negaunee, Michigan, USA. Once the materials are pumped into the pond, they are mixed with water to create a sloppy form of mud known as slurry. The slurry is then pumped through magnetic separation chambers to extract usable ore and increase the mine’s total output. For a sense of scale, this image shows approximately 2.5 square kilometres of the basin.
Nishinoshima Volcanic Activity
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Nishinoshima is a volcanic island located 940 kilometres south of Tokyo, Japan. Starting in November 2013, the volcano began to erupt and continued to do so until August 2015. Over the course of the eruption, the area of the island grew in size from 0.06 square kilometres to 2.3 square kilometres.
The Empty Quarter
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Rub’ al Khali, or The Empty Quarter, is the largest sand desert in the world. It covers 650,000 square kilometres, and includes parts of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates. In the centre of the desert there are a number of raised, hardened formations that were once the sites of shallow lakes, thousands of years ago. For a sense of scale, this image shows approximately 350 square kilometres in Saudi Arabia, near the border with Oman.
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Dendritic drainage systems are seen around the Shadegan Lagoon by Musa Bay in Iran. The word ‘dendritic’ refers to the pools’ resemblance to the branches of a tree, and this pattern develops when streams move across relatively flat and uniform rocks, or over a surface that resists erosion.
Up Next: 13 Otherworldly Locations You Can Visit on Earth
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They could be the stuff of fairytales and nightmares, but these supernatural places are all too real, writes Ellie Schneider.