28 Surreal Locations You Won't Believe Are Found On Earth

Our world is full of surprises. From Hell on Earth to forests made of stone, we promise that these bizarre landscapes aren’t photoshopped!


Tianzi Mountain, China

These uniquely tall and thin mountains are so alien that they were used in James Cameron’s “Avatar.” Formed underwater 380 million years ago, the flow destroyed surrounding sandstone, leaving only resilient stone pillars. Some of these columns stand at over 4,000 feet above sea level and climbers who have been lucky enough to scale the magnificent giants often refuse to climb any other mountain.


Danakil Depression, Ethiopia

Source: Siegfried Modola / Reuters
Source: Michel Toulouse / Reuters

The Danakil Depression is a vast desert basin that has been compared to hell because it is one of the hottest and harshest places on Earth. The scarred landscape is the result of two active volcanoes, which have formed lava lakes, geysers, acid ponds and vast mounds of sulfur and salt.


Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Brazil

Lençóis Maranhenses may look like a vast desert, but in actuality,  the area has incredibly heavy rainfall. The vast sand dunes, lying just outside the Amazon Basin, trap seasonal rain and create a truly peculiar phenomenon – glistening lakes within an otherwise barren landscape. These incredible lagoons can be blue, green or black depending on the rock beneath the sand.


Fly Geyser, Nevada

The Fly Geyser was accidentally created after a well was drilled and left uncapped. Minerals and algae quickly started to rise from the geyser and accumulated to form this alien mound.


Eye of the Sahara, Mauritania

Source: NASA

The Richat Structure, also known as the Eye of the Sahara, is a prominent feature of the vast Sahara desert. Visible from space, it has a diameter of almost 30 miles, and has become a landmark for shuttle crews. Initially interpreted as a meteorite impact structure, it is now believed to be a deeply eroded dome that collapsed.


Chocolate Hills, Bohol, Philippines

The Chocolate Hills are an unusual geological formation of over 1,776 hills packed into an area of just 20 square miles. Covered by grass that turns brown in the dry season, it’s easy to see where they got their name.


‘Door to Hell,’ Turkmenistan

Source: flydime / Creative Commons

The Door to Hell is a natural gas fire which has been burning continuously since it was lit by Soviet petroleum engineers in 1971. The fire is fed by the rich natural gas deposits in the area and resembles hell on Earth.


Lake Hillier, Australia

Source: Earth Porn

The pink color of this lake is thought to be the result of a dye created by algae and bacteria in the water. Despite the odd hue, the lake doesn’t seem to have any adverse effects on humans or local wildlife.


Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan

Source: Kamikoro

In Spring, a sea of over 4.5 million baby blue eye bulbs explode into what resembles an ocean on land. This event, referred to as “Nemophila Harmony” is a must-see.


Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Source: iStock
Source: iStock

During the rainy season, the world’s largest salt flat becomes the world’s largest mirror. The Salar was born when several prehistoric lakes joined into one. The salt flat is so reflective, it’s used to calibrate satellites.


The Twelve Apostles, Victoria, Australia

The apostles are columns of hard rock that have survived thousands of years of coastal erosion. Now, according to local legend, they look over the beach and each have individual names.


Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park, China

Source: Wang jiang zy / AP
Source: Wang jiang zy / AP

More than 24 million years of erosion have exposed this spectacular mishmash of red sandstone and mineral deposits.


Sentinels of the Arctic, Finland

Source: Tumblr

These sentinels are actually giant trees covered in snow and ice. This strange sight occurs in winter, when temperatures range from -40 to -15 degrees centigrade.


Socotra, Yemen

Source: Reuters
Source: Reuters

Socotra looks like nowhere on Earth because one third of its bizarre plant life is found exclusively on the island. By far the strangest form of life on this secluded spot of land is the dragon blood tree, which resembles an umbrella.


The Wave, Arizona, United States

The Wave is a Jurassic-age Navajo Sandstone rock formation. Erosion by wind and rain in it’s 190 million year history has created the spectacular landscape which appears now.


Koekohe Beach, New Zealand

Source: iStock
Source: iStock

The spherical Moreaki boulders dominate this beach. According to Maori legend, these almost perfectly spherical boulders are eel baskets washed up from enormous canoes. Scientists say that they are calcite concretions formed under immense pressure over 65 million years and exposed by coastal erosion.

Source: Weather


Pamukkale, Turkey

Source: iStock
Source: iStock

Used by the Romans, the terraces and pools of Pamukkale were created by the mineral water flowing from hot springs that fill them. Over time, the minerals clung to the landscape, creating a magnificent spot for an evening soak.


Nishino-shima, Japan

Source: NASA

This tiny island is one of the youngest places on Earth. At only a year old, this piece of land in the Pacific Ocean was created when an underwater volcano erupted and the magma was cooled by the ocean. And it’s still going, continuing to expand the island day by day.


Red Beach, Panjin, China

Source: AFP
Source: AFP

In the fall, vast areas of this wetland transform into a vibrant red. The alkali-tolerant seaweed is unique to this area, creating an incredible landscape.


Champagne Pool, Rotorua, New Zealand

Source: AFP

This hot spring is relatively young at 900-years-old. The result of a hydrothermal eruption, it contains a mixture of carbon dioxide and arsenic, making it bubble like a glass of sparkling wine.


Devil’s Tower, Wyoming, USA

Devil’s Tower marks the spot at which magma once exploded through the surface of the Earth. Over millions of years, magma was expelled onto the surface and cooled, forming this grand and almost artificial-looking structure.


Kelimutu Crater Lakes, Flores Island, Indonesia

Source: iStock
Source: iStock

These massive lakes have formed over millions of years. The westernmost lake is called the Lake of Old People and is usually a vibrant blue because of a concoction of minerals found in the volcanic rock. The other two are called the Lake of Young Men and Maidens and The Bewitched Lake, which are typically green and red, respectively.


Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar

Near the city of Morondava in western Madagascar lies a surreal forest of majestic baobab trees, jewels of the island country’s landscape. Tourists flock to this famed road, a protected zone, where the baobab, often called the ‘upside down tree,’ reaches a height of up to 80 feet tall and many are more than 800 years old.


White Desert, Egypt


This desert in the Farafra Depression seems more like another planet than another country. It’s filled with alien-like, wind-eroded rock, which is so white it appears to have been bleached by the sun. As a result, the formations have been called Inselbergs.


Shilin Stone Forest, China

Source: Stringer Shanghai / Reuters
Source: AP

These limestone formations dominate the landscape as if they were a petrified trees, creating the illusion of a forest made of stone. Many are believed to be more than 270 million years old.

Source: Weather


Tunnel of Love, Ukraine

Source: Ferex / AP

This tunnel was shaped over decades, as trains traveled the line, molding surrounding trees into a picturesque tunnel that has become a romantic spot for an afternoon stroll.


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