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21 Unusual geological features around the world

Updated on February 4, 2017

Most people know about the world famous Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA, or the beautiful colorful Zhangye Danxia Landform in China. Amazing natural places that make you want to find out about other geological wonders in the world. This article highlights some of the most amazing rock formations and other unusual geological features around the world. Some are beautiful because of their rainbow colors, others because of their unusual shape or texture. Hidden gems as well as famous places. Earth is truly a remarkable place.

Geology wonders in Asia

Jashak salt dome, Iran

The Jashak salt dome in the Iranian Zagros mountains is a gorgeous natural phenomenon to see. It’s made up of beautiful formations of salt layers and it’s probably one of the most visually appealing dome in an area that's actually filled with similar formations.
Since its location might be a struggle to find, here’s the location in Google Maps.

Zhangye Danxia, China

The hills of Zhangye Danxia Landform are probably the most famous and most amazing example of nature's colorful art. It's a wide area of many hills that all have been given the most amazing palette of natural color bands. A truly stunning place. When you look at online photos of the place you see the colors vary from burning bright to light pastel. If you decide to visit, it's probably best not to expect the most brightest of colors.

Door to Hell, Turkmenistan

The Door to Hell, also known as the Darvaza Crater, is a unique geological wonder in Turkmenistan. It's a sinkhole in a natural gas field, accidentally created during work on the ground. It was decided to burn off the natural gases that were released. People thought this would be a short term fire. No one could have predicted that more than 40 years on, the fire would still be burning. (information source: wikipedia)

Pamukkale, Turkey

Pamukkale in western Turkey is one of those places that many people probably have on their nature travel bucket list. The place looks like a large snow and ice landscape, but it's in fact white travertine terraces, filled with hot springs. If you visit, don’t forget to try and find colorful areas where thermophiles create spectacular colors on the travertine rocks.

Unusual geological features in North America

Crowley Lake Columns, California, USA

Not very well known but remarkable nonetheless, this strange columnar formation of tuff rock near Crowley Lake. It looks like the column structure has been created by humans, because it looks so orderly, but it seems to be totally natural.

Pebble Shore Lake, Montana, USA

A very colorful geological beauty: the floor of Pebble Shore Lake (Lake McDonald) in Glacier National Park, Montana, is filled with pebbles with the most amazing colors. There don't seem to be many countries in the world that offer scenery like this. In Europe you might find pastel colored pebbles on certain pebble beaches in Wales and Scotland.

The Wave, Arizona, USA

This earth toned unique wonder is just jaw dropping. Its swirling and flowing paths make it just gorgeous, very photogenic. Unfortunately, visiting The Wave is not that easy. Only a limited number of people may visit at a time, and you can only visit if you win a frequently held lottery. When you visit, beware that it can get dangerously hot in the area.

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, USA

Besides offering great dramatic badlands scenery, Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona is one of very few natural areas in the world where you can find colorful petrified wood, remnants of ancient trees where beautiful colorful crystals have grown. Another place where you can find something a bit similar is on the isle of Lesbos in Greece.

Antelope Canyon, Arizona, USA

Probably one of the most beautiful slot canyons in the world has to be Antelope Canyon in Arizona, with its smooth and swirly walls. Really a photographers dream. Although it's beautiful, if you plan a visit, beware of the possibility of dangerous flash flooding in the canyon.

Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

A list of unusual geological features can, of course, not be without the world famous Grand Canyon in Arizona. It’s the matriarch of all river canyons in the world. There’s no place like it, not on that scale.

Amazing geological formations in South America

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Brazil

This geological wonder could very well be a one of a kind place on earth: Lençóis Maranhenses in Brazil is a huge area filled with white sand dunes and an amazing amount of small blue lagoons and ponds.

Giant Crystal Cave, Mexico

Another amazing example of unusual geological features around the world has to be Giant Crystal Cave in Mexico. This is truly something else. It’s a cave filled with huge crystal bars that create some kind of natural maze. Unfortunately it's not to be visited by general public, but we can enjoy the online images.

Hierve el Agua, Mexico

Hierve el Agua in Mexico is a set of rocks that look like a giant waterfall. There is water from hot springs scurrying over the rocks, but what makes it look like a waterfall are calcium and other mineral deposits.

Marble Caves, Chile

The Marble Caves are a geological wonder in the Chilean part of Lago Gral Carrera. Force of the waves has shaped the caves over a period of thousands of years.

Rainbow Mountain Vinicunca, Peru

A great example of the world's most colorful rock formations is Peru’s Rainbow Mountain Vinicunca, which has a unique appearance with many colored bands that cover the mountain like a blanket, making it one of the most beautiful natural places in the world.

Unusual rock formations in Europe

Flysch, Zumaia, Spain

Without a doubt, the Flysch area in northern Spain is one of the most spectacular geological wonders in Europe. It consists of weathered sedimentary rock that gradually tilted through the ages, making for some of the most stunning and unique natural scenery in the world. It's very easily accessible too. If you decide taking a trip there, take note of the water tides, otherwise you won’t be able to see all the beauty. And always be careful where tides are concerned.

Svartifoss, Iceland

Even though formations of basalt columns are relatively common throughout the world, they all have their own unique visual characteristics that make them special and beautiful. A list like this cannot be without one of the most beautiful examples of this kind of natural art: Svartifoss in Iceland. It's a waterfall with a huge basalt columns structure hanging like a curtain from the cliff.

Unusual geological wonders in Africa

Dallol, Ethiopia

Dallol is a maar in the Danakil Depression in northern Ethiopia. It's an extremely hot volcanic area with many salt flats and hot springs. The water and the salt formations with bright white, yellow and green colors create one of the most unusual surreal natural places in the world.

Tsingy de Bemaraha, Madagascar

Madagascar's Tsingy de Bemaraha, also known as the Stone Forest (not to be confused with other areas in the world that also carry the name Stone Forest), is a unique collection of many tall and small limestone pillars, creating a huge forest of stone.

Unique rock formations in Australia

Wedding Cake Rock

Located in Royal National Park in the province of New South Wales in Australia, the Wedding Cake Rock is a unique piece of white sandstone rock shaped like a flat square wedding cake. Unfortunately, this gorgeous rock is said to be decaying relatively rapidly and it will probably not see the end of this century.

Wave Rock

Wave Rock in Australia is a rock shaped like a giant wave with a smooth surface and a striped earth tone pattern. It's probably Australia’s most well-known rock formation.

Australia's Wave Rock concludes this selection of 21 of the most amazing geological features around the world. Of course, there are many more stunning natural places out there. In future, more related articles will be added, focused on specific locations.

Did you find a location you'd like to visit someday?

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