Pamukkale travertine terrace

Pamukkale travertine terrace

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Credit: DAVID PARKER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Tourists walking along the Pamukkale travertine terraces. Pamukkale, meaning "cotton castle" in Turkish, is a natural site in Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey. The city contains hot springs and travertines, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. It is located in Turkey's Inner Aegean region, in the River Menderes valley, which has a temperate climate for most of the year. When the water, supersaturated with calcium carbonate, reaches the surface, carbon dioxide de-gasses from it, and calcium carbonate is deposited. The depositing continues until the carbon dioxide in the water balances the carbon dioxide in the air. Calcium carbonate is deposited by the water as a soft jelly but this eventually hardens into travertine. Hierapolis-Pamukkale is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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