The Most Surreal Places on Earth
- Mar 25, 2013
Are you a desperate vagabond ready to conquer the highest peaks and submerge into the deepest depths to steal the concealed secrets of the universe? Buck up! Today is a great time to plan the possible route of your next risky adventure! You might not believe your eyes, but the places we will show you really exist. Some of them will bring you on the verge of tears, some will make your heart beat faster, another will make your hair stand on end - anyway, they won't leave you indifferent.
We won't go too verbose as no words can render the celestial charm of those sites. "A picture costs a thousand words" - they say. So, come on, pack your bags and join our thrilling expedition to the most surreal places on Earth!
Fly Geyser, Nevada
Can you imagine that even not all Nevada residents know about this wonder? Fly Geyser is located on the territory of a private Fly Ranch which makes it extremely difficult to access. High fence and locked gate with spikes on top guard the geyser from tourists. To be absolutely honest, we should mention that the Geyser is not a completely natural phenomenon. It was created by chance during well drilling. The well went out of order after several decades of operation as warm geothermal water has found a weak spot and began to leak onto the surface. Dissolved minerals started their sculptor job, which is still going on. Geyser coloration is explained by the variety of minerals it is made of.
The Wave, Arizona
The Wave is a sandstone rock formation in the United States of America near the Arizona and Utah border on the Coyote Buttes slopes. Travelers and photographers from all over the world are attracted by its colorful, wavelike forms. The Wave's intersecting U-shaped troughs are the result of erosion of the Navajo Sandstone during the Jurassic period.
Lake Retba, Senegal
Lake Retba or Lac Rose is located in the north of the Cap Vert peninsula of Senegal. It got its name due to the Dunaliella salina algae making its water look like strawberry milk shake. Pink color is clearly visible during the dry season. The lake is also famous for its high salt content, allowing people stay on the surface similar to the Dead Sea experience.
Have you ever stood at the Hell's Door? Go to Derweze village, which name means "The Gate" in Turkmen language if you search for extreme! This terrifying attraction is located in the middle of the Karakum Desert, about 260 km north from Ashgabat. The Derweze area is rich in natural gas. Soviet geologists got into a cavern filled with natural gas while drilling. Due to the ground collapse, a large hole has created. It was decided to burn off the gas, but the roasting breath of the inferno is still trying to break into the world of living!
Socotra is considered to be a unique archipelago in the Indian Ocean for the diversity of its exotic flora and fauna. Its weird alien plants are the result of island's long geological isolation together with unbearable heat and drought. One of the most unusual Socotra's plants is the dragon's blood tree, resembling a strange umbrella. Aboriginals believed its red sap to be the blood of a dragon.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Have you ever walked through the clouds guessing are you in the top or the bottom? Salar de Uyuni gives you such unique possibility! Salar de Uyuni or Salar de Tunupa is the world's largest salt flat occupying the area of about 10,582 square kilometers. Today's Salar is a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. Its surface is covered by a few meters of salt crust possessing the utmost flatness, which varies within one meter over the entire area. Actually, the crust serves as a source of salt and makes a pool of brine, rich in lithium as well. The sky over the Salar is always clear, which in combination with large area and exceptional flatness makes it a perfect object for calibrating the altimeters of Earth observation satellites.
Jiuzhaigou Valley, China
Five-Color Pond is one of the smallest but the most amazing water basins in Jiuzhaigou lakes. Despite the shallowness, it has a breathtaking colored underwater landscape and some of the brightest and clearest waters in the area. As the legend goes, the Goddess Semo used to wash her hair here and the God Dage brought her water every day.
Deadvlei is one more surreal attraction of Sossusvlei, Namibia. It is a clay pan located about 2 km from Sossusvlei. It used to be an oasis with several acacia trees before, but the river that watered the oasis has changed its course. Now the dead acacia trees make an odd contrast to the shiny white salty floor of the pan and the intense orange of the dunes.
Badab-e Surt, Iran
Badab-e Surt's terraces are made of travertine, which is a sedimentary rock deposited by flowing water from two distinct mineral springs. Thousands of years the water from these two springs had been streaming down from the mountain, it mixed up and gradually created a number of orange, red and yellow colored pools which now have the form of a staircase.
Crescent Lake (Dunhuang), China
Yueyaquan is a crescent-shaped lake in the oasis, lying 6 km south of the city of Dunhuang. Its name comes from the Qing Dynasty. The lake itself and the surrounding deserts attract the tourists appreciating camel and 4x4 rides.
Lake Natron, Tanzania
The queer lake's hue is normal for water basins with extremely high evaporation rates. During the dry season, as the water evaporates, salinity level increases to the maximum point and specific salt-loving microorganisms begin to thrive. Some of them produce red pigment colorizing the water and turning it into the Martian landscape.
Ice Cave in Skaftafell, Iceland
This cave in the glacier appeared as a result of glacial mill. The rain and melt water on the glacier's surface are forming streams that flow into the crevices. The streams melt holes in the glacier forming long ice caves with intricate walls and ceilings. Cold wind finishes the job and we can observe a momentary marvel ready to collapse at any time. Due to the constant glacier movement one can hear a scaring cracking sound inside the cave. The incipient crevices let the indirect daylight into the tunnel and we can observe its mysterious play on ice bubbles.
Pamukkale can be translated as "the cotton castle" from Turkish. It is a natural attraction in Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey. Snow white Pamukkale's terraces are made of travertine, a sedimentary rock, deposited by water flowing from the hot springs.
Lencois Maranhenses National Park, Brazil
The Lencois Maranhenses National Park is a low, flat, occasionally flooded land, covered with large, white discrete sand dunes. Though it looks like a desert, in fact it is not. Due to the regular rain season in the beginning of the year, fresh water accumulates in the valleys between the sand dunes, reviving the desert with blue and green lagoons. It's rather surprising, but those water basins are inherited by fish, even despite the dry season.
Angkor is a huge complex of the 12th century temples in Cambodia. No doubt that it's a place of historical and cultural interest. The buildings are ancient and magnificent. But what do you think is really strange about this place? Just look at those trees! They look like ancient nation of Ents, the walking trees from "The Lord of the Rings" movie! Do you think they can really exist?
Chand Baori, Rajasthan
Have you ever seen anything like that? Chand Baori is a famous stepwell in the village of Abhaneri near Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is located opposite Harshat Mata Temple and was constructed in 800 CE. Can you imagine that those 3500 narrow steps in 13 stories extend 100 feet into the ground, making it one of the deepest and largest stepwells in India.
Frozen waves in Antarctica
These waves look like decorations from popular "Ice Age" cartoon. It seems as if they were frozen immediately at the will of a snow Queen. In fact, the waves are the result of melting, not freezing. Melting has created those downward pointing spikes, which are simple icicles.
Hidden Beach in the Marieta Islands near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Hidden from stranger's eyes, the beach of Marieta Islands, Puerto Vallarta can be called a lost secret world. Marieta Islands are archipelagos formed as a result of volcanic activity. This natural wonder possesses its unique marine ecosystem. The beach is a real paradise for people fond of snorkeling and scuba diving. Diverse, virgin flora and fauna in combination with transparent crystal water make the experience unforgettable. Humpback whale, sea turtles and dolphins are just a few animals that can be seen there.
The Glow Worms in Waitomo Caves
The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are definitely worth seeing not only because of their historical and geological significance. The glow worm, Arachnocampa luminosa, is a unique creature living in New Zealand. Thousands of these small worms radiate their otherworldly luminescent light hanging from the cave rocks during your unforgettable boat ride. The glowworms create a really magical view, every tourist should see at least once in a lifetime.
The Tunnel of Love in Ukraine, Kleven
In this photo you see the abandoned railway track, located nearly 350km from Kiev, which has transformed into a special romantic place, frequently visited by couples. The Tunnel of Love is especially beautiful in spring, when the green trees growing from both sides of the track form an improvised arch around it. This arch stretches for up to three kilometers and looks like a green picturesque tunnel of trees. The railway is occasionally used by the fiberboard factory, which preserves the tunnel in its initial look.
Glen Brittle, Scotland
Glen Brittle is a large glen in the south of the Isle of Skye, in Scotland. The magic Fairy Pools you see in the picture run down from the mountains into the glen. The area is extremely popular among hikers and mountain bikers. The marvelous lilac slopes above the Fairy Pools are covered with thick forests full of rare plants and animals and who knows, maybe even elves and fairies have found their refuge in this mystical place.
Cano Cristales, in the Serrania de la Macarena, province of Meta
Cano Cristales is a unique biological wonder often referred to as "the river of five colors" or "the river that ran away from paradise" and "the world's most beautiful river". Greater part of the year, Cano Cristales looks like any other river, but during a brief period of time yearly, it bursts into blossom and turns into the vibrant explosion of colors. Between wet and dry seasons, when the water level is just as required, a unique Macarenia clavigera plant turns the river into a sparkling ruby red stream, contrasting to the patches of yellow and green sand, blue water, and the enumerable shades in between.
Mount Roraima, South America
This rock soaring in the clouds is called Mount Roraima, the highest mountain of the Pakaraima chain of tepui plateau in South America. The mountain includes the triple border point of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana. The tabletop mountains of the park are considered some of the oldest geological formations on Earth, dating back to nearly two billion years ago. The mountain's highest point within Venezuela is Maverick Rock, which is 2810 m high.
Richat Structure, Mauritania
Look into the Eye of Sahara, isn't it impressive? The Richat Structure is a prominent circular feature in the Sahara desert lying in the west-central Mauritania near Ouadane. This structure is a deeply eroded, slightly elliptical dome, 40-km in diameter. Differential erosion of the resistant layers of quartzite has created these high-relief circular cuestas. Its center consists of a siliceous breccia covering an area of approximately 3 km in diameter. Initially, there was a theory that the structure appeared as a result of an extraterrestrial asteroid impact. Looking at the circularity of the Eye, you might be inclined to believe it, but the point is now argued to the favor of highly symmetrical and deeply eroded geologic dome.
Grand Prismatic Spring - Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
If you want to see something really magnificent, put Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming into your list. This hot spring is the largest in the United States and the third largest in the world. The devilish colors of the spring strike the imagination! The water is saturated blue, with red lava-like color surrounding it. Would you like to know the secret? This amazing tint is produced by the pigmented bacteria. They form microbial mats around the edge of the water. Seasonal temperatures as well as levels of chlorophyll and carotenoids greatly influence the hue of the bacteria. The mats do not form in the center of the spring because the water is too hot for bacterium's live cycle. The water is heated by the underground vents, which are a part of the volcanic system, the Yellowstone stands on.
About the author
Helga Moreno is a copywriter for TemplateMonster Blog and one of those bloggers, absolutely cranky on writing and always hungry for new experience. When not writing about WordPress or responsive design, she loves sightseeing and travelling and always strives to capture everything beautiful on her way.