“On the lava field” – photo credits Денис Будьков (Denis Buldakov)

The orange molten rocks beneath Kamchatka’s volcanic landscape looks surreally out of this world. It looks like a gateway to hell, or even yet, like Mordor. The Kamchatka peninsula, located in eastern Russia, is riddled with 160 volcanoes, including 29 active ones. The highest volcano is Klyuchevskaya Sopka (4,750 m or 15,584 ft), the largest active volcano in the Northern Hemisphere, while the Kronotsky is often quoted as the world’s most beautiful volcano.

Image credits: Francisco Negroni.


When lightning strikes over the clouds of ash spewed forth from the Puyehue volcano, Chile, it’s not a sight for the faint of heart: it’s an apocalyptic image, as the thunder blazes across the hellish sky. Volcanic lightning is actually not so well understood, but geologists believe that it forms when volcanic plumes spew rock fragments, ash, and ice particles into the atmosphere, creating or amplifying static charges.

Credits – Unknown.

It’s not just natural landscapes – this image from Gaza actually looks like Hell on Earth. It’s amazing, yet terrifying- it does a really good job of highlighting the kind of pain humans can inflict on each other. The fact that I include pictures from war zones on this list is saddening, but in a way, necessary.

Image credits: Nick Brandt, via National Geographic.

It’s a different type of hell at the Lake Natron in Tanzania. Here we see a calcified flamingo – the reason why this calcifies comes from Lake Natron’s unusually harsh composition. The lake is next to a unique neighboring volcano, Ol Doinyo, which spews alkali-rich carbonate rocks which end up the lake through water runoff. The animals probably aren’t truly calcified, but are coated with sodium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate. There are several reports of birds being confused by the perfect sky reflection in the river, crashing onto the surface of the water to their own demise. This bird likely perished from natural causes though, and calcified as there are no natural predators to eat it or its corpse.

“Elk Bath” – Image credits John McColgan.

Elk Bath is an award-winning wildlife photograph by John McColgan, a fire behavior expert. The picture was taken on August 6, 2000, on the East Fork of the Bitterroot River on the Sula Complex, Bitterroot National Forest, Montana. McColgan took the picture as the deer and other animals were fleeing from the devillish flames.

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“Gate to Hell” – Image credits, Denis Budakov.


Budakov gets his second picture on our list – again, with the Kamchatka Peninsula. If this this doesn’t look like Hell’s gate – I don’t know what does…

The Erta Ale lava lake, Ehtiopia. Image credits: Raymond Hoffman.

… except for this place.

Halemaumau Crater, Hawaii. Image credits: Andrew Hara.

Hey, and if those are the gates to hell, this is definitely the path to Hell… or just Hell. Hawaii is just breathtaking sometimes.

Image credits: Alexandre Socci.

Did I say just how devilishly awesome Hawaii looks like? Oh well…

Image credits: Bruce Omori.

Meanehile, in an alternate, Waterworld-Hell… what we’re seeing here is Volcanic Vortices, still in Hawaii; a volcanic vortice or two is a rare sight, but seeing several in the water is absolutely amazing.

Danakil Depression, Ethiopia. Image credits: Reddit user TirKairi.


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