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10 Places On Earth That Look Like They Shouldn’t Really Exist

TheTravel logo TheTravel 6/26/2022 Natalie Hetherington
© Provided by TheTravel

Every country is packed with amazing sights, but some places seem so out-of-this-world that it is hard to believe they are real. Here are 10 of the most unique places on this beautiful planet. Make sure to pack a camera so you have proof these wonders really exist!

Lake Hillier, Western Australia

One of the most unusual sights in Australia is the deep pink waters of Lake Hillier. Found on the edge of Middle Island and just 600 meters wide, scientists still do not completely understand why this extraordinary lake has a year-round pink color, but it is likely down to high salinity levels and the salt-loving algae (Dunaliella salina) and Halobacteria found in the waters. Unlike other pink lakes around the world, the water is still distinctively colored even in a glass.

Hand In The Desert, Chile

Sculptor Mario Irrarrázabel designed the eerie Hand in the Desert (Mano del Desierto) in the middle of Chile’s Atacama desert, one of the driest and most deserted places in the world. This 11-meter tall hand sculpture built in iron and concrete dominates the entire valley and can be seen from far and wide. Known for his work motivated by human suffering, Irrarrázabel’s inspiration for the sculpture was to express human frailty and loneliness out in this desolate location.

Blood Falls, Antarctica

Amongst beautiful glaciers and snowy peaks, one of the creepiest sights in Antarctica is Blood Falls. This five-story, bright red waterfall oozes slowly out of the Taylor Glacier in Antarctica's McMurdo Dry Valleys. Scientists discovered that the waters of Blood Falls, along with several species of microbes, were trapped under Taylor Glacier when it formed roughly two million years ago. Since then, these microbes have existed in these trapped waters with barely any light or oxygen and may hold the key to understanding how life may exist on other planets like Mars. The high iron levels in the water likely give the water its eerie blood-like red color.

Floating Mountains, China

The out-of-this-world floating mountains at Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, deep in Hunan province in China, were the inspiration for the hit movie Avatar and it is not difficult to see why. The giant sandstone columns rise up towards the sky, some of which are almost 200 meters tall. These unique geological formations, covered in patches of greenery, are often bathed in fog, making it seem like they are floating in the air.

Blue Hole, Belize

One of the most popular attractions in Belize is the stunning Blue Hole. Part of the Belize Barrier Reef System, this 300-meter circular hole is 125 meters deep and is the largest natural formation of its kind in the world, and is recognizable from space. Named one of the best places to dive in the world, adventurous divers can explore the stalactites and stalagmites which were formed when the Blue Hole cavern was above sea level. Thousands of years ago, when rising tides flooded this cave system flooded the Blue Hole was formed. Its lighter blue ring is caused by a shallow coral reef surrounding the darker blue waters of the deep cave.

Related: 10 Most Unique Beaches In The World

Fly Geyser, Nevada

Two hours north of Reno on the edge of Nevada’s the Black Rock Desert stands the incredible Fly Geyser. Comprised of three geysers, this rainbow-colored geological wonder was formed through a mixture of nature and human error. The first geyser, known as The Wizard, was formed in 1916 when residents were seeking irrigation water to make the land suitable for farming. The main geyser was also created accidentally when a power company drilled a test well which was left uncapped. Calcium carbonate deposits build up every time the scalding water was ejected from the well hole, building up over time to create the distinctive shapes found today.

Dragon’s Blood Tree, Yemen

The Yemeni island of Socotra is the only place the ancient Dragon’s Blood Tree, or Dracaena cinnabari, grows. This beautiful tree has a very distinctive, umbrella-like appearance and, unusually, has a unique red sap or resin which is known as dragon’s blood. A legend of the island suggests that the first dragon blood tree was created after a dragon was injured fighting an elephant. For many years, these trees and the resin were thought to be magical and have medicinal properties, and to this day it is still used in art, dyes, and to color precious stones.

Rainbow Mountains, Peru

Another extraordinary geological wonder is the Peruvian Rainbow Mountains, known locally as Vinicunca or the Montaña de Siete Colores (seven-colored mountain). At 5,200 meters above sea level, the top of Rainbow Mountain is over half the altitude of Mount Everest. These mountains were discovered in just 2015 when the icy glacier covering the mountain range melted and mixed with the minerals in the ground, creating the unique marbling effect seen today. The layered colors are a sight to behold, each comprising of different minerals and deposits - red due to rust mixtures, green from chlorite, and yellows from iron sulfide.

Related: Most Unique Islands In The World

Cave Of The Crystals, Mexico

Another recently discovered astonishingly beautiful geological feature is the Cave of Crystals in Naica Mine in Mexico. Just 20 years ago, the cave was discovered 290 meters below the Sierra de Naica Mountain in Chihuahua by miners looking for fresh ore deposits. These breathtaking crystals are some of the largest in the world, nearly 12 meters long and 1 meter wide, protruding out from all directions from the cave walls.

Strange Rock, Finland

Kummakivi, translated to Strange Rock, is precariously balanced on top of another boulder. The balancing rock is much larger than the supporting one, making it look like an impossible balancing act. Legend says that giants balanced the rocks, but more recently scientists have suggested that the rocks were left behind by glaciers receding over 8,000 years ago.

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