Earth's Most Alien Landscapes

Travertine Terrace Formations

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Travertine Terrace Formations
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Stone Forest
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The Stone Forest, China

The geologic features of this area of China were created around 270 million years ago, the result of sandstone deposits overlaid with limestone and shaped by water and wind. 

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Lake Dumbleyung, Australia
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Skogafoss waterfall
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Antelope Canyon, Arizona, USA

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Famous for its dramatic and supernatural-looking rock formations, northern Arizona's Antelope Canyon continues to inspire photographers and adventurers alike.

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Channel Country, Australia
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Channel Country, Australia

This sparsely populated desert region in the Outback of Queensland comes alive with color when it gets rainfall. 

Zhangye Danxia National Geopark

Zhangye Danxia National Geopark, China

Located in the country's north-central region, this park is known for its colorful sandstone rock formations. 

Ice Cave, Iceland
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Feicui Salt Lake
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Feicui Salt Lake, China

An aerial view shows this lake in the Haixi Mongolian and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of the Qinghai Province. 

Fairy Chimneys, Turkey

Fairy Chimneys, Turkey

These geological formations are in the central Turkish region of Cappadocia, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

Cuevas del Drach, Mallorca

Cuevas del Drach, Mallorca

The stalactite-laden caves on this Spanish island look like something out of a science fiction movie scene. 

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Ama Dablam, Nepal

Ama Dablam, Nepal

With a summit more than 22,300 feet above sea level, this dramatic Himalayan peak is about as otherworldly as it gets on this planet.

 Richat Structure of Mauritania

The Richat Structure, Mauritania

This NASA-provided image shows what is often also called The Eye of the Sahara. Located on the desert's Adrar Plateau, it is an eroded dome of igneous rock that dates to tens to hundreds of millions of years ago. 

Iceberg, Greenland

Iceberg, Greenland

This shot of an iceberg at sunset looks like it could have beens shot on Mars (if Mars had more water). 

Austfonna Ice Cap -
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Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

This South American salt flat is the world's largest. The remnants of a prehistoric lake that went dry, it contains more than half of the world's lithium reserves.

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Marble Caves
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Pamukkale Travertine Pools, Turkey
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Dry Cracked Lake Bed
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Death Valley, California

The temperatures in Death Valley can reach upward of 130 degrees, giving it an arid and cracked landscape that looks preternatural.

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Strangler Fig Tree, Vietnam
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White Sand Desert, Egypt

White Sand Desert, Egypt

This desert in North Africa, also known as Sahara el Beyda, is also a national park known for these strange limestone rock formations.

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Moeraki Boulders
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Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand

These boulders on the country's Otago coast's Koekohe Beach look like they could hatch aliens. They're actually a combination of mud, silt, and clay that's been cemented by calcite. 

Crystal river, Colombia
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Caño Cristales River, Colombia

It looks like a doctored photo, but this South American river, also known as the River of Five Colors or the Liquid Rainbow, has plants in a number of different shades. The dominant reddish-pink shown here is the result of a proliferation of Macarenia clavigera plants.

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
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Chocolate hills in Bohol, Philippines

Chocolate Hills, Philippines

Sunlight and mist enshrouds these more than 1,200 ancient geologic formations in the Bohol province. The hills are made of grass-covered limestone, and the name comes from when the grass dies and turns brownish.

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Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

Arachnocampa luminosa, a glowworm population found only in New Zealand, are responsible for the otherworldly nature of these caves. 

 The Wave, Arizona
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The Wave, Arizona

This northern Arizona sandstone rock formation can be reached via a rugged, 5.5-mile hike. That trek, however, requires a permit through a daily lottery system administered by the Bureau of Land Management.

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The Danakil Depression
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The Danakil Depression, Ethiopia

This place, one of the hottest and most inhospitable parts of the Earth, lies around 300 feet below sea level and is characterized by extremely hot, salty, and acidic conditions.


Grand Prismatic Spring In Yellowstone National Park
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Snow monsters in mount ZAO
Fly Geyser, Nevada
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Fly Geyser, Nevada

In Washoe County, this small geothermal geyser is about 5 feet tall by 12 feet wide and is the result of human drilling in 1916. The land it sits on is owned by the Burning Man Project, which offers limited public access to the site.

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eroded iceberg floating in Wilhemina Bay Antarctica

Eroded Iceberg, Antarctica

This massive Wilhelmina Bay-located iceberg shows just how dramatic of an artist Mother Nature can be.

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Darvaza Gas Crater, Karakum Desert
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Darvaza Gas Crater, Turkmenistan

It looks like an asteroid-impacted planet, but this crater, also known as the Door to Hell, is the result of a natural gas field that collapsed into a cavern. It was intentionally set on fire by geologists to prevent the spread of methane gas, and has burned continuously for nearly 50 years. 

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Dead Sea, Israel
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 Town of Hell, Grand Cayman
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Hell, Grand Cayman

These jagged black rocks cover an area about the size of a football field in this, dare we say, appropriately named town in the Caribbean. The formations are actually the result of a type of algae interacting with limestone.

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
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