Learn more about the Earth's dramatic landforms, from the tops of majestic mountains to the depths of mysterious caves and everything in between.

More About the Surface of the Earth

  • Photo: Man swimming in cave

    Call of the Abyss

    An intrepid team of explorers broke the depth record in Krubera—the world's deepest cave. They'd barely gotten home before a second team went deeper.

  • Photo: Sand dunes in China's Alashan Plateau

    Alashan Plateau—China's Unknown Gobi

    Salty spring-fed lakes, towering sand dunes, and the ghosts of an ancient walled city lie at the heart of China's remote Alashan Plateau in the Gobi.

  • Photo: Surf pounds Cathedral Rock, South Africa

    South Africa's Teeming Seas

    Call it the greatest shoal on Earth. Cold and warm waters surge together off the coast of South Africa to create rich marine ecosystems and a billion sardines on the move.

  • Photo: Canyon walls and river

    Glen Canyon Revealed

    Drought drains Lake Powell—uncovering the glory of Glen Canyon.

The Innovators Project

  • Abdel Kader Haidara - An Islamic scholar sorts through trunks of ancient manuscripts.

    Brave Sage of Timbuktu

    Abdel Kader Haidara had made it his life's work to document Mali's illustrious past. When the jihadists came, he led the rescue operation to save 350,000 manuscripts.

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Phenomena

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    Be the First to Own Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

    The updated companion book to Carl Sagan's Cosmos, featuring a new forward by Neil deGrasse Tyson is now available. Proceeds support our mission programs, which protect species, habitats, and cultures.

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