1. Kummakivi, Finland
Legend says this huge boulder was brought to the middle of the forests of Finland by giants. In reality, Kummakivi, which means “Strange Rock,” was carried by a glacier before being left precariously on top of another rock during the last Ice Age, scientists believe.
2. Fairy Chimneys, Turkey
These fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, Turkey, were created by years of erosion, and people have carved houses and hotels into the structures, making for a one-of-a-kind vacation destination for the true geology enthusiast.
3. Shilin, China
Located in Yunnan Province, China, these breathtaking limestone pillars were created over 250 million years ago when the valley was underwater. Today, over 2 million people visit Shilin (which means “Stone Forest”) every year.
4. Bungle Bungle Range, Australia
The orange domes of the Bungle Bungle Range pop out of the middle of the flat northwestern Australian landscape. Completely isolated, this bumpy mountains were relatively unknown until the 1980s.
5. The Dead Man, Ireland
Sometimes nature just likes to freak people out a little. The Dead Man or Sleeping Giant is the northernmost of a series of islands in Ireland, and it looks an awful lot like a giant taking a snooze in the ocean.
6. Kannesteinen, Norway
This mushroom rock in Oppedal, Norway was beaten for the sea for thousands of years to create this mushroomy shape.
7. Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand
These perfectly round boulders may seem out of place on the beach in New Zealand, but they were actually formed by the ocean. Just like oysters make pearls from grains of sand, these rocks were formed from items like shells, then deposited on the beach.
8. Underwater Arena, Japan
Japan’s Underwater Arena might not actually deserve to be on this list. There’s some serious contention among geologists as to whether the Underwater Arena’s steps, arenas and pyramid were created by natural erosion of sandstone or if it is in fact Japan’s own Atlantis. Either way, it’s an eerie and inspiring dive for any adventurer.
9. Mono Lake, California
Mono Lake looks more like some alien planet than a Californian lake. The extremely salty lake was formed by volcanic activity (and it’s still active!) and boasts some of the spookiest pillars of salt ever.
10. Hanging Rock, Australia
Hanging Rock in Victoria, Australia, is one of the coolest geological formations that you can hike all over. And if you have the guts, you can rappel of the edge.
11. Valley of the Moon, Argentina
This aptly-named geological landscape features a valley filled with weird round boulders, and towering mushroom-like cliffs, making an otherworldly view. It also has rich fossil beds with some of the oldest dinosaur remains ever discovered.
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