The world is such an incredibly vast place full of so many wonders that it’s hard to keep track of them all. These are some of those weird and wonderful places. Some of them we know a lot about, and some still have scientists baffled, but one thing we do know for sure is that they’re incredible sites to see.
Crooked Forest, Poland
The Crooked Forest, like its name would suggest, is a grove of oddly shaped pine trees. The 400 trees were planted in the 1930s and for reasons that are still unknown, they all bend sharply toward the north right above the ground and then bend back upright.
It’s generally believed that some sort of human tool caused them to have that shape to make them easier for creating boats, but others think it could have been a snowstorm.
Abraham Lake, Canada
This phenomenon only occurs in the winter in the high northern latitudes, like in Lake Abraham in Alberta, Canada. Gas bubbles that get trapped beneath the ice look like hundreds of tiny jellyfish swimming to the surface.
They’re created when methane escapes from the decaying vegetation at the bottom of the lake after being broken down by bacteria.
Tsingy De Bemaraha National Park, Madagascar
The Tisngy are karstic plateaus that were created when groundwater undercut the land above it and created caverns and fissures in the soft limestone. Because of the unique geographic setup, the water eroded its surroundings both vertically and horizontally.
The limestone forest is home to many species of plants that can only be found there.
Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is the world’s largest salt flat, covering over 10,000 square miles. It was formed by the transformation of several prehistoric lakes that left deposits of salt behind. It’s extraordinarily flat and contains 50–70% of the world’s known lithium reserves.
Its most interesting fact? It’s the prime breeding ground for several different species of flamingo.
Cappadocia in Turkey looks like a scene taken right out of a fairy tale. In fact, it’s home to many tall, cone-shaped rock formations that have been given the name “fairy chimneys,” which seems fitting.
The soft volcanic rock didn’t just form the cones, but also large valleys and hidden caves that are dotted all over the landscape. All these formations have been used throughout history by humans to create homes and fortresses.
Fairy Circles, Nambia
There is a spot in Namib desert where you might come across an unsettling sight: hundreds of little bare patches between two and 12 meters in size. They’re almost perfect circles of dirt spotted across the landscape.
There are lots of theories about where these come from. Some scientists have suggested radioactive soil or termites, but the locals believe the secret is a little more magical, thus the name fairy circles.
Kelimutu is a volcano in Indonesia that is home to three crater lakes, all of which are a different color. The lakes have been known to change color based on the levels of certain elements present in the water, as each has its own unique connection to the volcano’s activity.
Great Blue Hole, Belize
The Great Blue Hole in Belize is one that many of us might be familiar with because of its striking appearance. It’s a giant marine sinkhole that was created during periods of quaternary glaciation where sea levels were much lower than they are now. As the ocean began to fill, the cave remained and was filled with water.
It was made famous by Jacques Cousteau, who claimed it was one of the best diving spots in the world.
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
Many will know the Galápagos Islands as the place where Darwin went to research what would become his theory of evolution. What makes the Galápagos Islands so special is that they are home to some of the highest levels of endemic species found anywhere on the planet. That means that the majority of the species from the islands won’t be seen anywhere else on Earth.
Eye Of The Sahara, Northwest Africa
Also known as the Richat Structure, the Eye of the Sahara is a deeply eroded elliptical dome. In fact, it’s considered by most geologists to be a geological dome that’s been eroding for 100 million years.
This incredible structure is best seen from above and has been used as a navigational landmark since the earliest space missions.
Clonal Tree Groves, Utah
It may look like this is just your ordinary forest of North American trees, but looks can be deceiving. Also known as the Trembling Giant, these trees are actually all the same tree. It is the biggest (and one of the oldest) single living organisms in the world. The massive root system is thought to be 80,000 years old.
Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela
Lake Maracaibo is home of the Catatumbo lightning. The lake is home to what is known as an everlasting storm. It’s often struck by lightning thousands of times in an hour, and it storms there almost 300 days of the year. During the rainier months, you can expect to see 28 lightning flashes a minute.
Death Valley National Park, California
Death Valley National Park is incredible for many reasons, but one of its main draws are the sailing stones that move across the dried lake bed of Racetrack Playa. Heavy boulders have made their way across the lake bed leaving tell tail trails behind, some of them straight, some of them curved.
We have yet to determine what moves these boulders, but there are many theories from aliens to magnetic fields.
Eternal Flame Falls, New York
Eternal Flame Falls is a tiny waterfall nestled in Chestnut Ridge Park in New York. The waterfall isn’t the main draw, but rather a tiny flame that sits behind it. There is a small pocket of natural gas that produces a tiny flame that is visible year-round.
On occasion, it does have to be relit, but we still think it’s proof of how amazing nature is.
Blood Falls, Antarctica
There isn’t actually any blood in the Blood Falls, despite its macabre appearance that might make you think otherwise. The liquid coming from the glacier comes from an extremely salty, iron-rich sub-glacial lake that was sealed beneath the ice roughly two million years ago.
Giant’s Causeway, Ireland
According to local lore, the Giant’s Causeway was a bridge built by a giant. In reality, it was the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption that left pillar-like formations as the lava cooled.
Spotted Lake, Canada
Just like the name sounds, Spotted Lake is dotted with tiny pools that are rich with minerals including sulphates, magnesium, and calcium, causing them to change to different colors. Though you can’t get up close because of its cultural and ecological significance, it’s still worth seeing from afar.
Mount Erebus, Antarctica
Mount Erebus is the most active volcano in Antarctica. It’s home to a 1,700-degree Fahrenheit lava lake that may be many miles beneath the surface, but it’s only one of five such lava lakes in the world.
All along the side of the volcano are ice caves that have been sculpted by escaping gas. The volcanic gas continues to heat its way through the ice structures and escapes out of the top, making it look like a snow chimney.
The Moskstraumen is a system of whirlpools and tidal eddies, some of the strongest in the world. What makes it so interesting and strange is that it happens in the open ocean, where most whirlpools happen in rivers and straits. It comes from the combination of the shape of the sea bed and strong tidal pull.
Many writers, such as Edgar Alan Poe and Jules Vern, have used it as a focal point for some of their writing.
Polar Stratospheric Cloud, Antarctica
The nacreous clouds are beautiful rainbow clouds that are best seen at twilight. Sounds magical, right? One type of this kind of cloud is made up of frozen ice crystals catching the light just right, but there is another version that can cause chemical reactions that harm the ozone layer.