Badab-e Surt is a natural wonder located in Mazandaran Province in northern Iran, 95 kilometers south of the city of Sari. The site consist of a range of stepped terraces made of travertine, a sedimentary rock formed over thousands of years by deposition of carbonate minerals dissolved in water flowing from mineral hot springs.
Badab-e Surt's terraces are caused by two distinct mineral springs with different natural characteristics, located at 1,840 meters above sea level. The first spring contains very salty water that gathers in a small natural pool. Its water is considered to have medicinal properties, especially as a cure for rheumatism and some types of skin diseases and skin conditions. The second spring has a sour taste and is predominately orange.
Stepped travertine terraces are present on several places on earth. Other examples include the Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park, the White Water Terraces and Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area – both in China, and the most famous of them all – Pamukkale in Turkey. However, unlike the aforementioned hot spring terraces, which are mostly shades of whites and blues, the travertine terraces of Badab-e Surt are bright orange and red. This is due to the presence of large amounts of iron oxide sediments.
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