Mother Nature can be beautiful. She can also be quite deadly. That’s the case with many of the most dangerous places on Earth as they can attract tourists and explorers wanting a closer look but leave them
10. Saltstraumen Maelstrom, Norway
In Nordland, east of the city of Boda lies the strongest tidal current in the world. Water speeds reach 93 mph as up to 400 million tons of seawater travel through a straight nearly two miles long and 492 feet wide. A vortice 16 feet deep at the vortex can result when the current’s at its strongest. There are brief periods when the sound is navigable, but the rest of the time remember that maelstrom in Dutch means “crushing current.”
9. Alnwick Poison Garden, England
The warning “These Plants May Kill” says it all when you approach Alnwick Poison Garden. Foxglove, a plant whose leaves are poisonous but contain digitalis, used as a heart medicine, can be found here. So can belladonna, know better as deadly nightshade, another poisonous plant with medicinal uses.
The black iron gates around the garden hold 100 killer plants as imagined by Jane Percy, the Duchess of Northumberland, a county in northeastern England. When thinking of what tourist attraction she wanted, she decided on a garden of plants that could kill. It’s best not to smell, touch or definitely taste any of the plants, each which come with a story to educate visitors but definitely isn’t something to pick and take home.
8. Hodge Close Quarry, England
Hodge Close Quarry can give brave visitors a fright just with its appearance, what looks like an image of a leering skull. The cliff side makes up the skull’s top half and the reflection in the water the bottom half. That’s not what makes the abandoned slate quarry one of the most dangerous places on Earth. That’s handled efficiently by the icy waters in the 82-foot long tunnel that leads to the quarry. The quarry’s dangers killed both divers who’ve braved its tunnels and climbers who’ve climbed its walls.
7. Gouffre Berger Cave, France
Named after Joseph Berger, who discovered it, Gouffre Berger Cave and its 3,680-foot depth prove alluring to adventurers who climb into the underworld. Six people have died exploring this southeastern France limestone cave. Called “The Cave of Death,” it features a beautiful lake but can be a killer of a view if the cave fills up with water that penetrates the limestone walls after a heavy rainfall.
6. Mount Namafjall, Iceland
The volcanic mountain Mount Namafjall, located near Lake Myvatn in Iceland, lies in what’s considered one of Iceland’s most beautiful places. It’s a different view around Namafjall and its mud craters, sulphurous mud springs and steam springs. There’s not much pure water nor plants to be found in the geothermal area. The high temperature and the acidic ground prevent any vegetation growing. It’s boiling mud pools also release sulfur-filled steam and volcanic gas that’s harmful to humans.
5. “The Door to Hell” Turkmenistan
The 230-foot-wide crater near the village of Deweze has lit up the skyline for 45 years. A team of Soviet scientists drilled looking for natural gas reserves but suffered a setback in 1971 when the rig collapsed. Their attempt to burn off emerging toxic methane gases backfired when the fire wouldn’t go out and remained burning decades later. Canadian explorer George Kourounis, dressed in a special suit, became the first person to descend into the crater and its 1,832 F temperatures in 2015.
4. Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Madagascar
The Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve, located in western Madagascar, makes the list of protected UNESCO world heritage sites and is also one of the most dangerous places on Earth. It features razor-sharp limestone rock peaks and needles mixed in with the lakes, mangrove swamps and undisturbed forests that give the area its beauty. The sharp edges are formed by water eroding away the limestone. Explorers love the site because of its abundance of its numerous species of life, many not found elsewhere, and there’s plenty left unexplored because it’s basically a natural tiger trap pit waiting to cut you. If you visit, walk slow. The risk of danger’s is easy to point out.
3. Dominica Boiling Lake, Dominica Island
Getting to Dominica’s Boiling Lake takes walking through the Valley of Desolation, a volcanic area featuring boiling sulphur-water pots, hissing geysers and invisible sprays of steam that can burn your skin. That’s a fitting walk to greet one of the most dangerous places on Earth, a lake more than 200 feet across that is perpetually boiling. The walk down to it can be slippery, so caution is advised.
2. Afar Triangle, Africa
Herders and visitors alike were alarmed when the Earth opened and swallowed goats and camels in 2005. Geologist Dereje Ayalew and his colleagues flying over the site saw the action as magma below the surface welled up between two tectonic plates and pried them further apart. Hundreds of faults and fissures along a 40-mile stretch of desert resulted. The Earth continues to rip apart underneath, making this area one of the world’s most unstable regions and one of the most dangerous places on Earth. Along with fearing a fall into deep gaping cracks appearing at random, you also risk coming into contact with the superheated air about 750 degrees F that may blast out of them.
1. Ilha de Queimada Grande, Brasil
The island of Ilha de Queimada Grande, which lies about 90 miles off the Sao Paulo coast, bears the nickname “Snake Island” for a fitting reason. Between 2,000 and 4,000 golden lancehead vipers, one of the world’s deadliest snakes infests the island. Sea levels rose around the island many years ago, trapping them in and leaving them to live separately from nearby snakes. They then reproduced rapidly as they lacked the threat of predators.
The vipers then began to stalk their prey, migratory birds that visit the island, by developing a potent venom three to five times stronger than mainland snakes that can kill prey and melt human flesh nearly instantly. There’s a 7 percent chance of death from a snakebite and even treatment isn’t certain to keep a victim alive. Some estimates say there’s as many as one snake per square meter in some areas. The Brazilian government restricts travel and requires a doctor to be present on any trips.