The Weird, Strange, Bizarre & Odd Stuff

7 Weirdest Natural Landscapes around the Earth

Landscape comprises the visible features of an area of land, including the physical elements of landforms such as (ice-capped) mountains, hills, water bodies such as rivers, lakes, ponds and the sea, living elements of land cover including indigenous vegetation, human elements including different forms of land use, buildings and structures, and transitory elements such as lighting and weather conditions.

Combining both their physical origins and the cultural overlay of human presence, often created over millennia, landscapes reflect the living synthesis of people and place vital to local and national identity. Landscapes, their character and quality, help define the self image of a region, its sense of place that differentiates it from other regions. It is the dynamic backdrop to people’s lives.

The Earth has a vast range of landscapes including the icy landscapes of polar regions, mountainous landscapes, vast arid desert landscapes, islands and coastal landscapes, densely forested or wooded landscapes including past boreal forests and tropical rainforests, and agricultural landscapes of temperate and tropical regions.

Generally Nature can be sometime pretty boring: a hill here, a tree grove there, the occasional berry patch. Every once in a while the natural processes at work can meet at weird angles, forming landscapes that puzzle and fascinate —Nature’s believe it or not. Sometimes, outings are remembered for experiencing something a little out of the usual.

Urban landscapes and busy metropolises offer an interesting insight into a country’s way of life, but probe a little deeper and you may just find out a side of the country seen by very few. With no additional discussion, I have shared with you 7 weirdest natural landscapes around the earth.

Antelope Canyon ,USA

Antelope Canyon, USA
Antelope Canyon, USA

Antelope Canyon is the most-visited and most-photographed slot canyon in the American Southwest.It is located on Navajo land near Page, Arizona. Antelope Canyon includes two separate, photogenic slot canyon sections, referred to individually as Upper Antelope Canyon or The Crack; and Lower Antelope Canyon or The Corkscrew.

The Navajo name for Upper Antelope Canyon is Tsé bighánílíní, which means “the place where water runs through rocks.” Lower Antelope Canyon is Hazdistazí  or “spiral rock arches.” Both are located within the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation.

Antelope Canyon was formed by erosion of Navajo Sandstone,primarily due to flash flooding and secondarily due to other sub-aerial processes. Rainwater, especially during monsoon season, runs into the extensive basin above the slot canyon sections, picking up speed and sand as it rushes into the narrow passageways. Over time the passageways are eroded away, making the corridors deeper and smoothing hard edges in such a way as to form characteristic ‘flowing’ shapes in the rock.

Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand

Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand
Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand

The Moeraki Boulders are unusually large and spherical boulders lying along a stretch of Koekohe Beach on the wave cut Otago coast of New Zealand between Moeraki and Hampden. They occur scattered either as isolated or clusters of boulders within a stretch of beach where they have been protected in a scientific reserve.

The erosion by wave action of mudstone, comprising local bedrock and landslides, frequently exposes embedded isolated boulders. These boulders are grey-colored septarian concretions, which have been exhumed from the mudstone enclosing them and concentrated on the beach by coastal erosion.

Local Māori legends explained the boulders as the remains of eel baskets, calabashes, and kumara washed ashore from the wreck of an Arai-te-uru, a large sailing canoe. This legend tells of the rocky shoals that extend seaward from Shag Point as being the petrified hull of this wreck and a nearby rocky promontory as being the body of the canoe’s captain.

In 1848 W.B.D. Mantell sketched the beach and its boulders, more numerous than now. The picture is now in the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington. The boulders were described in 1850 colonial reports and numerous popular articles since that time. In more recent times they have become a popular tourist attraction, often described and pictured in numerous web pages and tourist guides.

Stone Forests, China

Stone Forests, China
Stone Forests, China

The Stone Forest or Shilin is a notable set of limestone formations located in Shilin Yi Autonomous County, Yunnan Province, People’s Republic of China, near Shilin approximately 120 kilometres (75 mi) from the provincial capital Kunming.

The tall rocks seem to emanate from the ground in the manner of stalagmites, with many looking like petrified trees thereby creating the illusion of a forest made of stone. Since 2007, two parts of the site, the Naigu Stone Forest and Suogeyi Village, have been UNESCO World Heritage Sites as part of the South China Karst.

The site is classified as a AAAAA-class tourist site. The stone forests of Shilin are considered superlative natural phenomena and a world reference with a wider range of pinnacle shapes than other karst landscapes with pinnacles, and a higher diversity of shapes and changing colors.

Göreme National Park, Turkey

Göreme National Park, Turkey
Göreme National Park, Turkey

Göreme located among the “fairy chimney” rock formations, is a town in Cappadocia, a historical region of Turkey. It is in the Nevşehir Province in Central Anatolia and has a population of around 2,500 people.

Former names of the town have been Korama, Matiana, Maccan or Machan, and Avcilar. When Göreme Valley nearby was designated an important tourist destination, a “center” for all tourism in Cappadocia, the name of the town was changed to Göreme for practical reasons.

The Göreme National Park (Göreme Milli Parklar in Turkish) was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.

The location of Göreme was first settled back in the Roman period. Christianity was then the prevailing religion in the region, which is evident from many rock churches that can still be seen today.

Among Göreme’s historically important sites are Ortahane, Durmus Kadir, Yusuf Koc and Bezirhane churches, in addition to the richly decorated Tokali Kilise, the Apple Church, and a number of homes and pigeon houses carved straight into the rock formations in the town.

Rio Tinto, Spain

Rio Tinto, Spain
Rio Tinto, Spain

The Río Tinto  is a river in southwestern Spain that originates in the Sierra Morena mountains of Andalusia. It flows generally south-southwest, reaching the Gulf of Cádiz at Huelva.

Since ancient times, a site along the river has been mined for copper, silver, gold, and other minerals. In approximately 3,000 BCE, Iberians and Tartessians began mining the site, followed by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, and Moors.

After a period of abandonment, the mines were rediscovered in 1556 and the Spanish government began operating them once again in 1724.As a result of the mining, Río Tinto is notable for being very acidic (pH 2) and its deep reddish hue is due to iron dissolved in the water.

Acid mine drainage from the mines leads to severe environmental problems due to the heavy metal concentrations in the river. In 1873, the multinational Rio Tinto Company was formed to operate the mines; by the end of the 20th century it had become one of the world’s largest mining companies, although it no longer controls the Rio Tinto mines; these are now owned by EMED Mining plc.

Chocolate Hills, Philippines

Chocolate Hills, Philippines
Chocolate Hills, Philippines

The Chocolate Hills is an unusual geological formation in Bohol province, Philippines.There are at least 1,260 hills but there may be as many as 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres (20 sq mi). They are covered in green grass that turns brown during the dry season, hence the name.

The Chocolate Hills is a famous tourist attraction of Bohol. They are featured in the provincial flag and seal to symbolize the abundance of natural attractions in the province.They are in the Philippine Tourism Authority’s list of tourist destinations in the Philippines;  they have been declared the country’s third National Geological Monument and proposed for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Socotra Island, Yemen

Socotra Island, Yemen
Socotra Island, Yemen

Socotra also spelled Soqotra, is a small archipelago of four islands in the Indian Ocean. The largest island, also called Socotra, is about 95% of the landmass of the archipelago.

It lies some 240 kilometres (150 mi) east of the Horn of Africa and 380 kilometres (240 mi) south of the Arabian Peninsula. The island is very isolated and through the process of speciation, a third of its plant life is found nowhere else on the planet. It has been described as the most alien-looking place on Earth. The island measures 132 kilometres (82 mi) in length and 49.7 kilometres (30.9 mi) in width.

Socotra is part of the Republic of Yemen. It had long been a part of the ‘Adan Governorate. In 2004, it became attached to the Hadhramaut Governorate, which is much closer to the island than ‘Adan (although the nearest governorate is Al Mahrah). There is a small archipelago in the Indian Ocean that has been described as the world’s most alien-looking place.

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