No need to travel to the moon to witness bizarre scenery, there are plenty of beautiful yet strange natural landscapes on our own planet Earth: the Salar de Uyuni, the Antelope Canyon, and the Rio Tinto are just a few examples. Here’re 10 of the strangest natural landscapes around the World:
1. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
What seems like a beautiful reflection of the sky in an undisturbed lake is actually 10,582 square kilometers layers of salts. Located on the southwest side of Bolivia is the world’s largest salt flats: the Salar de Uyuni. This impressive landscape results from the drying out of several prehistoric lakes of the area. The Salar de Uyuni is covered by approximately 120 meters thick salt, divided into eleven layers. The best moment to photograph the reflection on the Salar de Uyuni is between March and April.
2. Antelope Canyon, United States
Canyons are already well-known in Arizona, but one of the most photogenic and impressive slot canyons is the Antelope Canyon in Navajo. The amazingly beautiful and strange smooth shape of the landscape is due to the erosion of the sandstone caused by the flash flooding of the area. Antelope Canyon is divided into two parts: the upper and the lower. Visiting the Upper Antelope Canyon is an easy walk through the even ground while the Lower Antelope Canyon requires a bit of climbing. Great photos can be taken in the Antelope Canyon!
3. Chocolate Hills, Phillipines
A natural and unusual sight in the province of Bohol is the Chocolate Hills: a regrouping of at least 1,260 conic hills within an area of 50 square kilometers. During the dry season, the green grass covering the hills turns brown, just like the color of chocolate. The hills are actually huge domes of limestone. The conic shape of the Chocolate Hills is due to the natural erosion of the limestone by the combination of rain, surface water and underground water.
4. Spotted Lake, Canada
A very strange lake located in British Colombia is the Spotted Lake. The lake is believed by the First Nation to have some mythical healing powers. The numerous spots on the surface of the lake are actually dense deposits of concentrated minerals such as calcium, sodium sulfate and magnesium sulfate. The color of Spotted Lake changes according to the concentration of the minerals, creating a different but equally beautiful sight of the lake every time.
5. Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Brazil
Usually, sand dunes are associated with extremely hot temperature and excruciating thirst, but within the sand dunes of the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, located on the northeast side of Brazil, hide many small ponds of fresh water! The many layers of impermeable rocks underneath the sand prevent the rainwater from escaping through the sand, as it usually would do, and that phenomenon creates the unique and strange landscape of the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park.
6. Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand
A strange natural scenery that took over 4 million years to form is the Moeraki Boulders nested on the Koekohe Beach of New Zealand. Besides sand, the beach has a collection of more than 50 very large spherical boulders, ranging from 50 centimeters to a little more than 2 meters in diameter! During the low tide, as the water retreats, the Moeraki Boulders slowly resurface. The sight of this weird landscape is quite odd and impressive.
7. Giant’s Causeway, United Kingdom
On the coast of Northern Ireland are gathered approximately 40,000 impressive basalt columns: the Giant’s Causeway. This weird landscape of the United Kingdom is the natural result of volcanic eruptions that occurred 60 million years ago. The top of the columns are like steeping-stones that go from the coastline and slowly disappear into the ocean. Most of the columns are shaped hexagonal, but some have four, five or seven sides. The Giant’s Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1986.
8. Rio Tinto, Spain
From the Sierra Morena mountains of the region of Andalucia flows a very bizarre and reddish river: Rio Tinto. The area along the river has been mined for copper, silver and gold for a very long time. As a result of the mining activities, the water of Rio Tinto became very acidic. The dissolution of iron into the water is the reason for the reddish color of Rio Tinto. The high acidity usually repels visitors, but the unique environment is like a jewel for the scientists.
9. Great Blue Hole, Belize
Located approximately 70 kilometers off the coast of Belize is a giant underwater sinkhole: the Great Blue Hole. This natural phenomenon is as strange as it is amazingly beautiful: the hole is 124 meters deep and has a perfect diameter of 300 meters. From an aerial view, the hole has a deep blue shape, proof that it is very deep compared to its surrounding water. The Great Blue Hole is part of the UNESCO Heritage site since 1996 and it is a must-go for any diving enthusiasts!
10. Eisriesenwelt, Austria
From the outside, Eisriesenwelt looks like a normal hole, perched on the mountain, but once step inside, the ice covered stalagmites, stalactites, domes, icicles and frozen waterfalls give the impression of being in another world. Known as the “World of the Ice Giants”, Eisriesenwelt is the largest known ice cave in the World. During winter, the thawing snow of the surrounding mountains melt into the cave and the chilly wind from the entrance freeze it. During summer, this frozen scenery of Eisriesenwelt is practically unchanged as the cold wind from inside the cave prevents the ice from melting.
Mother Nature is always full of surprises and the amazing bizarre landscapes of her creation will never cease to enchant us. Unusual landscapes created by natural phenomena are simply breathtaking as it looks so unreal compared to the usual landscapes. There are indeed more strange natural landscapes around the World, do you know any? Please share with us!
- If you plan to visit any of these strange landscapes, don't forget to bring your camera with you, for a everlasting memory!
Updated: March 22, 2016