Long Durational Natural Phenomenon

Existence of Caño Cristales 

Duration: 1.2 billion years

Text via Wikipedia
Cover photograph CC BY 3.0 Mario Carvajal

Caño Cristales is a Colombian river located in the Serrania de la Macarena province of Meta. The river is commonly called "The River of Five Colors" or "The Liquid Rainbow," and is even referred to as the most beautiful river in the world due to its striking colors. The river appears in many colors, including yellow, green, blue, black, and especially red caused by the Macarenia clavigera at the bottom of the river. 

Photograph CC BY 3.0 Mario Carvajal

The rocks of the Macarenia date back 1.2 billion years. They are a western extension of the Guiana Shield of Venezuela, Guyana, and Brazil, whose rocks are considered to be among the oldest in the world. The rocks of the region belong to the sedimentary cover of the Guiana Shield. The Macarenia encompasses three ecosystems rich in diversity of flora and fauna: the Andes, the Eastern Llanos, and the Amazon rainforest. It is, therefore, of great significance in global biology.

Caño Cristales has aquatic plants and corals, but the river itself is totally devoid of fish. Its red color is characteristic of endemic plant species and corresponds to Macarenia clavígera.The representative biome of the Serranía de La Macarena is the hydrophytic rainforest; hot, warm, and cold. The mountain is home to about 420 species of birds, 10 species of amphibians, 43 species of reptiles, and 8 primates. Other channels of the Macarenia, such as the Caño Siete Machos, hold red plants in winter. These red plants adhere tightly to rocks in places where the river has a faster current.

Macarenia clavigera up close. Photograph CC BY 3.0 Peter Fitzgerald 

To read more about Caño Cristales, click here.