The world is full of natural wonders, spanning across 7 continents. Amidst spectacular mountains, lakes and oceans, lie oddities in the form of gurgling mud volcanoes to rainbow coloured water bodies! But, they are real!
Here are 35 pictures of the strangest natural spectacles in the world:
The Richat Structure – Mauritiana
Popularly referred to as the Eye of the Sahara, The Richat Structure is a prominent geological feature in the Sahara Desert. Initially thought of as a meteorite impact structure, it is now argued to be a symmetrical and deeply eroded geological dome (that collapsed).
Marble Caves, Chile
Located on the peninsula of solid marble, bordering Lake General Carrera, the patterns observed give a marble-ized effect. This courtesy 6000 years of wave erosion that has taken place.
Hierve el Agua, Mexico
Natural mineral formations that have built up over years have given rise to a mineral-laden waterfall!
Thor’s Well, Oregon, USA
Located in Florence, Oregon, the Thor’s Well is a gaping sinkhole with waves that reach a height of 20 feet.
Lencois Maranhenses National Park, Brazil
While this may look like a desert, it isn’t! The Lencois Maranhenses, located outside the Amazon Basin is subject to rainfall at the beginning of the year, resulting in green, blue and black lagoons, surrounded by desert-like sand.
Split Apple Rock, New Zealand
This popular destination in the Tasman Bay is actually a geological rock formation, composed of granite. It is shaped like an apple that has been cut in half; the reason behind that, still unknown!
Champagne Pool, New Zealand
Nestled in the Waiotapu geothermal area in the North Island of New Zealand, Champagne Pool is a 900 year old hot-spring that produces carbon dioxide bubbles. The spectacle produced as a result, is that of a glass of sparkling wine!
Red Beach, China
A tourist favourite, this beach in Panjin (northeast of Beijing), a unique variety of alkali-tolerate seaweed turns from green to red, in the fall.
Green Blue Hole, Belize
This large submarine vertical cave is over 990 feet in diameter and 407 feet deep. This is also one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world.
Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar
In western Madagascar lies a surreal forests that houses “upside down trees”, that reach upto 80 feet in height. These majestic baobab trees dot the city of Morondava, frequented by tourists, every year.
7 Giants, Russia
Hidden in the northern Ural mountains, the mysterious Manpupuner rock formation tower over the northern Siberian landscape. The seven stone pillars were sculpted, following the weather effects of wind and ice.
Spider Rock, Arizona
This is the most distinctive geological protrusion at Canyon de Chelly National Monyment and is one of the tallest freestanding spires in the world.
Fingal’s Cave, Scotland
Located in the uninhabited island of Staffa, this cave has a unique, cathedral-like structure and hexagonal columns.
Mud volcanoes, Azerbaijan
300 of the earth’s 700 mysterious gurgling wonders are found in Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea. These mud volcanoes are unpredictable as they can shoot pressurized gas without warning, triggering a jet of fire!
Puerto Princesa Underground River, Philippines
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Puerto Princesa Subterranea River National Park features a limestone karst landscape, with an underground river flowing! This river has major formations of stalagmites and stalactites and is dotted by several large chambers.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand
Thousands of glowworms naturally illuminate the Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand.
Devils Postpile, California, USA
This formation in eastern California, is one of the rarest sights on this planet. You can an unusual symmetry created by columnar basalt, extending to over 60 feet in height.
Danakil Depression, Ethiopia
Named the ‘gateway to Hell’, because it is one of the hottest places on the planet, the Danakil Depression is a desert basin, having two active volcanoes, the Erta Ale (a living lava lake), acid ponds, geysers and impressive expanses of yellow sulfur mounds, salt and mineral deposits.
Zhangjiajie National Park, China
The striking sandstone mountain formations at the Zhangjiajie National Park in China, served as the inspiration for the ‘Pandora’ world in the film ‘Avatar’.
Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, New Mexico
This 40,000 acre land extension in a desolate area of New Mexico, is home to some of the most unusual scenery in the vicinity, courtesy strange rock formations and fossils.
Valley of Geysers, Russia
Kamchatka in Russia has the second largest concentration of geysers in the world (after the USA). There are at least 20 big geysers that shoot water every few hours.
‘Door to Hell,’ Turkmenistan
The ‘Door to Hell’ is a natural gas field located in Derweze, Turkmenistan and is known for its natural gas fire that has been burning continuously since 1971 (since it was set on fire by Soviet petrochemical scientists)
Shiprock, New Mexico
Standing 1,600 feet above the high-desert plain on the Navajo Nation in San Juan County, Shiprock is an iconic volcanic landform. The formation is sacred to the Navajos and climbing it has been illegal for over 45 years now!
Giant’s Causeway, Ireland
This beautiful natural marvel consists of 40,000 interlocked basalt columns, that is the result of an ancient volcanic eruption! This is also a UNESCO world heritage sight.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
This is the world’s largest salt flat. During the dry season, the salt plains are a flat expanse of dry salt, but during the wet seasons, a thin sheet of water covers the land.
This forest comprises of 900 year old dead trees that are blackened but haven’t yet decomposed (due to extremely dry conditions)
The White Desert, Egypt
The White Desert is famous for its wind-eroded, alien-like rock formations, called Inselbergs.
Blood Falls, Antarctica
This mysterious blood-red waterfall in Taylor Glacier, Antarctica, looks straight out of a horror setting. But, the red flow is actually because of the rich iron content in the lake!
Tri-Colored Crater Lakes of Kelimutu, Indonesia
The three lakes in the picture below, change colour as a result of chemical reactions between the lake’s minerals and volcanic gas.
Cano Cristales, Colombia
This river, named ‘Liquid Rainbow’ bursts into vibrant colours between the months of September and November. This is due to the presence of an aquatic plant named ‘Macarenia clavigera’, which turns the river pink, yellow, red, orange, green and blue!
The Wave, Arizona
Fossilized dunes that look like petrified surf, await those who make the journey to Coyote Buttes in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness.
Shilin Stone Forest, China
Beautiful limestone formations, believed to be more than 270 million years old, create the illusion of a stone-made forest, in China.
Dragon’s Blood Trees, Socotra
There is a vast expanse, northwest of the Indian Ocean, that is home to alien-esque landscape and weird flora! Ever seen trees that look like upturned umbrellas?
Jellyfish Lake, Palau
10 million jellyfish are found on this lake that is located on Eil Malk island in the Pacific country of Palau!
The largest single rock in the world, exists in Uluru and rises 340 metres above the ochre plain!