As with all natural phenomena, there is striking diversity in how water manifests itself around the world. You just have to know where (and sometimes when) to look.

Kelimutu volcanic lakes, Indonesia

At the summit of the volcano Kelimutu, on the Indonesian island of Flores, are three lakes, each with its own distinct color. Photo: NeilsPhotography


Dettifoss waterfall, Iceland

Vatnajökull National Park in northeast Iceland is home to this falls, said to be the most massive by water volume in Europe. Photo: ystenes


Bioluminescence off the San Juan Islands, Washington

When populations of the bioluminescent organism Noctiluca scintillans swell due to increased nutrients in near-shore waters, this is the result. Photo: Steve Whiston


"Mushroom wave"

When waves collide. Wherever this photo was taken appears to have been experiencing a red tide event (which in some cases leads to bioluminescence, as seen in photo #3 above). Photo: Neil Wharton


Kona Coast, Hawaii

Christmas Eve duck dive on the Kona Coast. Photo: Sarah Lee


Morning Glory Pool, Yellowstone National Park

This small body of water, whose color comes from the bacteria that live inside it, is typically placid but can erupt as a geyser as a result of regional seismic activity. Photo: Achint Thomas


Waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Plitvice Lakes National Park is Croatia's largest and covers 73,000+ acres of mountainous karst terrain, with a series of cascading lakes and large falls, seen above. Photo: Lee Duguid -- see more of his landscape photography


Star hole, Torrevieja, Spain

This image was taken on the Spanish Mediterranean coast in April of 2010. Photo: David Frutos


Great Blue Hole, Belize

This underwater sinkhole, nearly perfectly circular in shape, is found within the Lighthouse Reef, part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System.


Geysir, Árnessýsla, Iceland

This is where the English word "geyser" comes from -- find it in the region of Árnessýsla, in the south of the island. Photo: kugel


Chicago River, St. Patrick's Day

Every year on the weekend closest to St. Patrick's Day, 40 pounds of powdered vegetable dye are dumped into the river to produce this result. Photo: Hans (


Daqubang River

While the Chicago River's color is (supposedly) safely achieved, the Daqubang in eastern China has been observed to take on bright hues of red, orange, and green as a result of industrial pollution. Photo via


Caribbean wave

Shot somewhere in the Caribbean, this is one of Chris Burkard's 10 waves you'll never find. Photo: Chris Burkard


Dead Sea at sunset

The extremely high mineral content of the Dead Sea, which separates Jordan and the West Bank, gives the water a surreal viscous shimmer, creating interesting effects at sunset. Photo: PhotoSenseDatum


Newport Beach, California

MatadorU faculty member Scott Sporleder has endured many wintry mornings to capture intimate photos of water like this. Photo: Scott Sporleder


Devil's Bath, Waiotapu, New Zealand

Located in the North Island's Waiotapu geothermal area, the Devil's Bath gets its color from mineral runoff from the adjacent Champagne Pool (appearing further down this list). Photo: NathanaelB


Wave action under the Red Sea

Photo tip from the photographer: "You don't have to dive deep to capture beautiful scenes. Here, I'm 3-5 meters underwater, and I waited about 15 minutes to capture the effects of a large wave hitting the reef that I eventually liked." Photo: Ammar Al-Fouzan


Lac Rose, Senegal

Algae in the waters of this lake northeast of Dakar produce a red pigment -- apparently it's most pronounced during the dry season (December-April). Photo: Jeff Attaway


Skradinski Buk, Croatia

Krka National Park is another protected area in Croatia where water features are the central draw. Skradinski Buk is the name of this grouping of lakes and falls. Photo: Vicki Mar


Red tide at Half Moon Bay, California

The algal blooms that cause red tide events can occur naturally, but they are also the result of coastal pollution from agricultural runoff and other sources. Photo: tzargregory


Jigokudani Monkey Park, Nagano, Japan

The Japanese macaques, or snow monkeys, that live in this park spend winter days warming themselves in the natural hot springs. Photo: SteFou!


Lake Michigan wave, Chicago

A storm in late October of 2012 kicked up a wall of water at Diversey Harbor Park. This cyclist seemed unfazed. Photo: cementley


Laguna Colorada, southwestern Bolivia

This shallow salt lake, dotted with white borax islands and feeding flamingos, is one of the largest bodies of water within the well-visited Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve. Photo: Ana Caroline Lima


Huangguoshu Waterfall, Guizhou, China

Shown above is an upper section of one of Asia's largest waterfalls, which occurs on the Baishui River in southern China. Photo: WaitinZ


Firehole River, Yellowstone National Park

The river gets its name from the smoke-like steam emitted from fumaroles that line its course through Yellowstone's geyser basins. Photo: Buck Christensen


Geneva, Switzerland

At Geneva, the muddy mountain waters of the Arve come together with the larger Rhone River at this dramatic confluence. Photo: Varun Singh


Thor's Well, Cape Perpetua, Oregon

One of many scenic features on this stretch of Oregon coast, Thor's Well is a depression in the rock that sucks in ocean water and, under the right tidal conditions, shoots it back out like a fountain. Photo: Deej6


Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

The world's largest salt flat is a desert of white in the dry season but takes on an inches-deep standing pool of water after heavy rains, creating on of the freakiest-looking landscapes on Earth. Photo: Haceme un 14


Cloudbreak, Tavarua, Fiji

Another view from Scott Sporleder of what it's like to be deep inside a wave.


Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Another shot of Plitvice Lakes, this time showing the stair-step action of the pools. Photo: To Uncertainty And Beyond


Niagara River turbulence

Downriver from the famous falls, the Whirlpool Rapids are formed as the water drops into Niagara Gorge on its way to Lake Ontario. Photo: Mister V


Linapacan Island, Palawan, Philippines

MatadorU faculty member Scott Sporleder shares this image from Palawan, the Philippines' most remote province and home to many beaches with super clear water. Photo: Scott Sporleder


Seven Ghosts, Sumatra, Indonesia

At certain times of year, at certain places in the world, a rising tide will travel upriver or into a small bay, creating wave action. Sumatra's Seven Ghosts is one of the most legendary of such tidal bores, particularly in the surf community. Photo via SVNews


Puu Kukui, Maui, Hawaii

Streams of water cascade down the sheer vegetated slopes of Puu Kukui in the West Maui Mountains. Photo: jurvetson


La Jolla Cove, San Diego, California

Frequent algal blooms along this part of the Southern California coast can produce some intense bioluminescence in the waves. Photo: slworking2


Monterey Bay, California

An example of a "high surf advisory" situation off the coast of California. Photo: Ru Tover


Champagne Pool, Waiotapu, New Zealand

A characteristic discharge of CO2 earns this geothermal body of water on the North Island of New Zealand its name. Photo: WanderingtheWorld (



As the planet's lowest country, water is eminently accessible in the Maldives. Photo: Hani Amir


Kangaroo River, New South Wales, Australia

A long exposure captures the whirlpool action of this section of river in the Southern Highlands region. Photo: Rhys Pope; see more on Facebook


Lake Ngakoro, Waiotapu, New Zealand

Another oddly colored body of water in the Waiotapu geothermal area on the North Island. Photo: macronix


Turnagain Arm bore tide, Alaska

The elevated vantage point and sunlight help illuminate the flow of this tidal bore south of Anchorage. Photo: Mark Yezbick


Victoria Falls, Zambia

On the Zimbabwe side, looking back towards Livingstone Island and Devil's Pool, a calm eddy where visitors can sit directly adjacent to the plummeting water. Photo: Andrew Clarke


Mt. Tongariro, New Zealand

The Emerald Lakes on the Tongariro massif are old explosion craters that have filled with water. A close look will reveal a trail and two very tiny hikers. Photo: Dru!


Sua Trench, Samoa

An exposed cavity in the limestone here in Samoa has been turned into a popular swimming hole. Photo by Daniel Gong


Maelstrom of Saltstraumen, Norway

Massively powerful tidal action 30km southeast of Bodo, Norway, creates the world's strongest maelstrom. Photo: Alan Jaras


Water like glass

This shot was taken at sunset at the Ouachita Whitewater park in Malvern, Arkansas. Photo: Jon Wisniewski


Geysir, Iceland

A quieter moment at Geysir. Photo: Andri Elfarsson


Lake Louise, Alberta

Glacial melt from the surrounding mountains in Banff National Park produces the emerald color of this Canadian lake. Photo: edwin van buuringen



Keith Malloy reaches out to an unridden Tahitian barrel as he enjoys the waves from a new perspective. Photo: Chris Burkard


Víti Crater, Iceland

The crater of the volcano Askja in eastern Iceland is mostly filled by Öskjuvatn lake; the adjacent and much smaller Viti Crater is also filled with water, which often differs in color from that of Öskjuvatn. Photo: lev.glick


Hartlepool Headland, England

Waves pound against this breakwater in northeastern England. Photo: Neil Wharton


Peyto Lake, Banff

Another glacier-fed lake in Banff National Park. Here you can clearly see the "rock flour" that enters the lake via glacial runoff, lightening the overall hue several shades. Photo: Alaskan Dude


Hog's Back Falls, Ottawa

Hog's Back, an artificial falls on the Rideau River, is located just minutes south of downtown Ottawa. Photo: (c) S.E. Amesse 2008


Gippsland Lakes, Victoria, Australia

According to the photographer, this effect was "created by throwing a bucket of algae into the algae rich lake." Photo: Ink'n'Image


Newport Beach, California

One final wave shot from Scott Sporleder.


The Zanskar meets the Indus

The confluence of the two rivers occurs near Nimmoo, Jammu and Kashmir, northern India. Photo: Jace


Oniishibozu Jigoku, Beppu, Japan

There are numerous hot springs in the area around Beppu, Oita, with several different resorts connected to them. You would not want to jump into this particular pool, however. Photo: zilverbat.


Lake Pukaki, Mackenzie, New Zealand

The glacially fed Tasman River drains into this lake, giving it that characteristically powder blue color. Photo: Jacki Dickert


Band-e Amir, Bamyan, Afghanistan

A series of large travertine basins in the Hindu Kush Mountains of central Afghanistan contain the clear blue waters of six lakes, which are the centerpiece of the national park of the same name. Photo: ajvnsan


Taormina, Sicily, Italy

With warm water and easily accessible beaches, Taormina on the east side of the island is popular with both local and international tourists. Photo: ozchris2


Laguna Verde, Bolivia

The emerald waters of Laguna Verde front the 19,400ft volcano Licancabur, in the southwest corner of Bolivia. Photo: szeke


Tunisian salt lakes

Lying between the Atlas Mountains and the northern boundary of the Sahara is an expanse of salt flats that, after rains, produce shallow mineral ponds and lakes colored red. Photo: koldoeh


Iguazu Falls, Argentina

A view of one of the spots at Iguazu where water flows with the most force. Photo: Daniel Bosma


Dordogne River, near Bordeaux, France

Where the Dordogne flows into the Gironde estuary, there is occasionally a surfable tidal bore. Photo: yepabroad


Sanetsch Pass, Switzerland

This unnamed pond in the Swiss Alps has developed a film of deep red algae on its surface, though the water immediately underneath remains clear. Photo: mabufeu