6 Beautifully Surrealistic Natural Places On Earth - Dangerously Genocidal


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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

6 Beautifully Surrealistic Natural Places On Earth

There are some really beautiful and amazing places in the world, there’s no denying that. Breath-taking waterfalls, beautiful forests and majestic mountains and formations. But there are a few places that take it to a whole new level. Not only are they absolutely amazing but, when you take a closer look, it almost seems like you’re not on sweet planet Earth anymore. What makes these places so beautiful and special is how unreal they look. Here are:

6 Beautifully Surrealistic Natural Places On Earth

1. Zhangye Mountains, China

Everyone knows how mountains should look – big and brown, some trees and flowers, and maybe a few fluffy clouds or some snow at the top. That’s the traditional idea, at least. But whoever or whatever created the Zhangye Mountains in China had a completely different idea. Like something that jumped right off Salvador Dali’s canvas, the colourful Zhangye Mountains rise up in varying shades – depending on the angle and the light you could see anything from red, blue, green, orange… and everything in between.

The explanation for the colorization isn’t all that complicated (if you’re a geologist, anyway). Apparently the colours are due to weathering, oxidization, and a mix of the rock, clay and stone types that make up the mountains (again, which creator deity was drunk enough to vomit up a mixture like this?). In 2009 the mountains were made protected by UNESCO as a heritage site, mainly due to the development of surrounding areas and an increase in tourism.

Strange as they may look we have to admit this much: The Zhangye Mountains are as beautiful as they are strange, and definitely worth the trip to see them.

2. The ‘Lost Island’ of Socotra, Yemen

Have you ever wondered what the world might have looked like when dinosaurs were still alive? Or what the plant life on an alien planet might look like? Then there is only one place that you need to go: The ‘Lost Island’ of Socotra. According to experts, the plants on Socotra (like the aptly named, red sap Dragonblood tree) are 20 million years old. Yes, 20 MILLION. The popular thinking is that the plants are so unique because the remoteness of the island never required them to evolve. Not to mention the lack of human interference destroying them.

The trees and plants look like strange upturned umbrellas, with leaves only growing at the top of the knobbly branches – and that’s just one species. There are 307 species of plants that can only be found on the island, as well as 10 unique species of birds – and that’s just some of the unique plants and animals you can find there. To protect this little island out of time, UNESCO declared it a world heritage site – something we can all be thankful for, as a lot of the unique life on the island is already endangered.

If you want to experience the past like you’ve never imagined you could, Socotra is the place for you.

3. The Stone Forest of Kunming, China

This so called ‘Wonder of the World’ is about… 270 million years in the making. Back then the entire region was an expanse of sea. But, as the 270 million years ticked down to the more recent millennia, the water retreated and left behind one of the most interesting landscapes you could think to see – over 400 square kilometres of giant stone formations littering the landscape. This has become known as the Stone Forest, and with the way the natural landscape formed around it, the name is perfect.

The ‘forest’ is broken into three parts: The Major Stone Forest, the Minor Stone Forest and the Naigu Stone Forest, each one with their own unique formations. Here and there you might even spot a few formations that don’t look anything like the towering rocks that surrounds them. There are even a few local myths and legends that surround the forest.

In the end, the oddly-shaped and rock-lined landscape looks like something right out of an alien movie.

4. Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

It’s a cave, you say. What’s so special about a cave? An excellent question, and it has an excellent answer. See, in these particular caves in Waitomo there lives a very special little worm. This worm lives nowhere else but in New Zealand, and in the Waitomo Caves there are millions of them. It’s these worms that make the caves special – because they glow.

Discovered in 1887, the caves started welcoming visitors in 1889. Since then they’ve only risen in popularity, with thousands of tourists coming to see them. And they are remarkable. The roof and walls of the caves are littered with the tiny glowing worms, giving the inside an otherworldly and ethereal feel – as if you’re a giant being looking at the stars of the cosmos sparkling around you. Aside from tours, there have even been people who’ve gone there to take their wedding photos. Surrounded by the ‘stars’… now that’s one way to make your special day even more unforgettable.

5. Cave of the Crystals, Mexico

Ever seen the first Superman movie? The one where Christopher Reeve was hot, but started off a series of films that became the worst sequels in history? Yes, those. And remember, in the very first film, what Krypton looked like? Giant crystal cities on a crystal planet – like a giant geode turned inside out. And geodes are something we have here on Earth, too. But have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk inside a geode? To walk in a landscape and a city that looked like Krypton?

Now you can.

In Mexico you’ll find the Naica Mine and inside, the most amazing crystal formations. The crystals are mainly selenite, with the largest crystal (that has been found so far) measuring a whopping 12m in length, and weighs 55 tons – that’s about 11 average sized African elephants. Because of where it’s situated (above an ancient fault and above a magma chamber) the crystals could form – over a period of 500,000 YEARS. It gets better, too. Apparently entirely new organisms are being discovered in the cave system, specifically evolved to withstand the high temperature and ridiculously high levels of humidity, and not related to anything in the known genetic database of life on Earth.

In other words, not only does it look like another planet, but it has life down there that you won’t find anywhere else.

6. Tianzi Mountains, China

I’m going to bring up another movie for this one (I like movies, alright?!), and this time I’m going to refer you to the gorgeous floating mountains in the film Avatar. Remember those? Well, as it turns out, they’re not completely fake. Yes, alright, the real ones don’t actually float all over the place, but the location itself does exist. These odd pillars of stone and marble rise up high into the sky and, with the usual misty clouds that lazily drift between them, you’d almost swear that they were floating.

The mountains are considered sacred by many of the locals, and there’s even a monastery half carved into, half hanging off one of the mountains. Like the stone forest, it’s theorized that Tianzi was one under water but, as it retreated over the course of 400 million years, the mountains were formed.

The Tianzi mountains are, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful sights, and it’s no wonder that the surrealistic sight inspired the creation of a planet of blue aliens and giant, colourful prehistorical-looking bird-bats.

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