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The 10 most pristine places on Earth

Though humans have touched many parts of the world, there are still areas where our influence in minimal. From the ice sheet of Antarctica to the jungles of Pap
  • Stephanie Smith

    This is where we stayed Apr13-May13 (Silky Oaks Lodge)... absolutely fabulous place to visit. Most pristine places in the world. Daintree National Park in Far North Queensland, Australia, contains a 110-million-year-old rainforest, one of the oldest ecosystems on earth. The park is home to thousands of plant species and contains trees that are more than 2,500 years old. Pictured is Mossman George River in northern Daintree.

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Most pristine places in the world. Antarctica is a truly untouched place. The only continent never to be settled by humans, 96 percent of the island is covered with ice, which averages more than a mile (1.6 km) thick. The number of people conducting and supporting scientific research and other work on the continent and its nearby islands varies from about 1,000 in winter to about 5,000 in the summer. Penguins, whales, seals and seabirds all use the waters around Antarctica as feeding grounds

World pristine places The Atacama Desert, Chile, really gets no rain at all. Salt basins, sand and lava cover much of its 40,000 square miles (103,600 square km), and the soil is so lifeless that NASA can design their Mars ground tests on Atacama land. Because of its high altitude, nearly non-existent cloud cover, dry air and lack of light pollution and radio interference from the very widely spaced cities, the desert is one of the best places in the world to conduct astronomical observations.

Most pristine places in the world. he Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's Far East is a wild and empty place, with the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Sea of Okhotsk to the west. Volcanoes and glaciers dot the peninsula, and mega-earthquakes of up to magnitude 9.0 have shaken the peninsula within the past five decades.

Most pristine places in the world. Southern end of New Zealand's west coast, the Fiordland region is wild, rugged and empty of human development. With high mountains falling into jagged rocky waters, Fiordland has never had any significant permanent population. The native Maori only visited temporarily for hunting, fishing and to collect the jadestone. The region's air currents blow straight up from Antarctica, so Fiordland's air is some of the cleanest on the planet. Here, Fiordland Nat'l Park

Most pristine places in the world. Daintree National Park in Far North Queensland, Australia, contains a 110-million-year-old rainforest, one of the oldest ecosystems on earth. The park is home to thousands of plant species and contains trees that are more than 2,500 years old. Pictured is Mossman George River in northern Daintree.

Most pristine places in the world. Bhutan. More than 60 percent of the country is under forest cover, and a quarter of its territory has been designated as national parks or protected areas. The Land of the Thunder Dragon, as it's known, has rugged mountains and valleys, making it a hotspot for biodiversity. Pictured is Drukgyel Dzong, a Buddhist monastery, high in the Himalayas in the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Most pristine places in the world. The Seychelles has the largest percentage of land under conservation of any country — just about 50 percent of the island nation is preserved. Because of that, the islands are home to some amazingly pristine beaches and species like the national bird, the Seychelles black parrot. Some 305 miles (490 kilometers) of powder soft beaches line the islands, and relatively few visitors get there.

Most pristine places in the world. Papua New Guinea is one of the most rural and least explored places in the world. Scientists believe that many of the world's undiscovered species of plants and animals exist in the jungle interior of the country.

Most pristine places in the world. Galapagos Islands. The archipelago is home to giant tortoises, iguanas, sea lions, penguins, whales and fish and has been a biological marine preserve for fifty years. It is home to a human population of only 23,000 and has hundreds of endemic species of plants and animals.

Most pristine places in the world. With giant dunes, ancient petroglyphs, craters and waterfalls, Namibia is one of the most untouched landscapes in Africa. It's also one of the only countries to preserve the health of its ecosystem in its constitution.

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