Take a look through our slideshow to see some of the most amazing shows of color in the natural world. Caño Cristales: Meta, Colombia. Known as “The River of Five Colors” or “The Liquid Rainbow,” this South American landmark in Serrania de la Macarena National Park shows its brilliant hues between the wet and dry seasons every year. At this time, a unique plant species on the river floor called Macarenia clavigera turns a brilliant red. Against the blue water and yellow and green sand, it’s an incredible sight to behold. Although the area was closed for many years due to guerilla activity, it reopened to tourists in 2009. Today, several Colombian tourism agencies will arrange guided tours to the remote area, complete with the flight to La Macarena.
Lake Hillier: Recherche Archipelago, Western Australia
While Lake Hillier appears bubble gum-colored from the air, the waters show a less dramatic pink hue when viewed from the shore. No one is sure where the color comes from, but scientists have several good guesses. As with other pink salt lakes in the region, the color could originate from the organisms Dunaliella salina and Halobacteria. Alternatively, its color could be due to halophilic bacteria that live in Hillier’s salt crusts. Either way, the lake is safe for swimming, so visitors can enjoy a dip in its unique waters.
The Marble Berry: Africa
The marble berry (Pollia condensata) has the most intense and shiny color known in nature. Found in forested regions of Africa, the berry’s hue is caused by Bragg reflection from its unique cellular strucure, which can also cause the fruit to appear somewhat pixelated to the human eye. Although beautiful to look at, these berries contain no nutritional content.
Petrified Wood: Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
This national park is known for its large deposits of petrified wood found over approximately 146 square miles. The colors of these fossils depend on the elements in the water or mud during the petrification process. For instance, the presence of manganese can create pink or orange hues, while cobalt will result in greens or blues.