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Socotra Island – Yamen


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Top Twenty Strangest Places on Earth ::--1.Socotra Island – Yamen|| 2.Salar De Uyuni – Bolivia|| 3.Kliluk, the Spotted Lake – Canada|| 4.Dry Valleys – Antartica|| 5.Rio Tinto – Spain|| 6.Blood Pond Hot Spring – Japan|| 7.The Richat Structure – Mauritania|| 8.Vale De Lua – Brazil|| 9.The Stone Forests – China|| 10.Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves – Austria|| 11.Fly to Outer Space - Virgin|| 12.Ski Dubai - UAE|| 13.Village of Unmarried People, Barwaan Kala - India|| 14.Montreal's underground city - Canada|| 15.Pitcairn Islands|| 16.Cappadocia - Turkey|| 17.Pamukkale - Turkey|| 18.Hell's Door- Turkmenistan (Derweze)|| 19.The Great Blue Hole - Belize|| 20.Blood Falls - Antarctica||


Socotra Island

Socotra also spelt Soqotra, is a small archipelago of four islands in the Indian Ocean. The largest island, also called Socotra, is about 95% of the landmass of the archipelago. It lies some 240 kilometres (150 mi) east of the Horn of Africa and 380 kilometres (240 mi) south of the Arabian Peninsula. The island is very isolated and through the process of speciation, a third of its plant life is found nowhere else on the planet. It has been described as the most alien-looking place on Earth.
Socotra is part of the Republic of Yemen. It had long been a part of the 'Adan Governorate, but in 2004 it became attached to the Hadhramaut Governorate, which is in much greater proximity to the island than 'Adan (although the nearest governorate is Al Mahrah).



Geography and climate

Socotra is one of the most isolated landforms on Earth of continental origin (i.e. not of volcanic origin). The archipelago was once part of the supercontinent of Gondwana and detached during the Miocene, in the same set of rifting events that opened the Gulf of Aden to its northwest.
The archipelago consists of the main island of Socotra (3,665 km2 (1,415 sq mi)), the three smaller islands of Abd al Kuri, Samhah and Darsa and small rock outcrops like Ka'l Fir'awn and Sabūnīyah that are uninhabitable by humans but important for seabirds.
The main island has three geographical terrains: the narrow coastal plains, a limestone plateau permeated with karstic caves, and the Haghier Mountains. The mountains rise to 1,503 metres (4,931 ft). The island is about 125 kilometres (78 mi) long and 45 kilometres (28 mi) north to south.
The climate of Socotra is classified in the Koppen climate classification as BWh and BSh, meaning a tropical desert climate and semi-desert climate with a mean annual temperature over 18 °C (64 °F). Yearly rainfall is light, but is fairly spread throughout the year. Generally the higher inland areas receive more rain than the coastal lowlands, due to orographic lift provided by the interior mountains. The monsoon season brings strong winds and high seas.



Flora and fauna

Socotra is considered the jewel of biodiversity in the Arabian Sea. The long geological isolation of the Socotra archipelago and its fierce heat and drought have combined to create a unique and spectacular endemic flora. Botanical field surveys led by the Centre for Middle Eastern Plants (part of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh) indicate that 307 out of the 825 (37%) plant species on Socotra are endemic, i.e., they are found nowhere else on Earth. The entire flora of the Socotra Archipelago has been assessed for the IUCN Red List, with 3 Critically Endangered and 27 Endangered plant species currently recognised.
One of the most striking of Socotra's plants is the dragon's blood tree (Dracaena cinnabari), which is a strange-looking, umbrella-shaped tree. Its red sap was thought to be the dragon's blood of the ancients, sought after as a medicine and a dye, and today used as paint and varnish. Also important in ancient times were Socotra's various endemic aloes, used medicinally, and for cosmetics. Other endemic plants include the giant succulent tree Dorstenia gigas, Moraceae, the cucumber tree Dendrosicyos socotranus, the rare Socotran pomegranate (Punica protopunica), Aloe perryi and Boswellia socotrana.
The island group also has a rich bird fauna, including several endemic species of birds, such as the Socotra Starling (Onychognathus frater), the Socotra Sunbird (Nectarinia balfouri), Socotra Bunting (Emberiza socotrana), Island Cisticola (Cisticola haesitatus), Socotra Sparrow (Passer insularis) and Socotra Grosbeak (Rhynchostruthus socotranus), many of which are endangered by non-native feral cats. There is even an endemic monotypic genus of birds, the Socotra Warbler (Incana incana).
As with many isolated island systems, bats are the only mammals native to Socotra. In contrast, the coral reefs of Socotra are diverse, with many endemic species. There is concern that introduced species, such as goats, may present a threat to the native flora of Socotra in the future.


socotra island

UNESCO recognition

The island was recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a world natural heritage site in July 2008. The European Union has supported such a move, calling on both UNESCO and International Organisation of Protecting Environment to classify the island archipelago among the environmental heritages.

 

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