Last week we showcased seven buildings with surreal architecture. This week we’re going au naturel on that theme as we look at 10 naturally unusual locations from across the globe.

The Richat Structure (Mauritania)

Richat StructurePhoto: NASA Goddard Photo and Video/Flickr

Richat Structure-3Photo: Wikimedia

In the middle of the Sahara Desert lies a 30-mile wide geological oddity known as the Richat Structure. This eye-like feature is visible from space and once served as a geographical landmark for astronauts as they passed over the desert. (Tweet this)

Socotra islands, Indian Ocean

Socotra islandsPhoto: Rod Waddington/Flickr

Socotra islands-1Photo: Soqotra (Yemen) – Fotografías de Nacho Benvenuty/Flickr

Thanks to the process know as speciation, a third of Socotra’s plant life cannot be found anywhere else on the planet. Photos: imgur

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

bolvia salt plainPhoto: suellewellyn2011/WordPress

Salar de UyuniPhoto: Nouhailler/Flickr

If you’d like to visit Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, you can book a stay at the Palacio de Sal Resort, which, quite appropriately, is a hotel made entirely out of salt.

“Door to Hell,” Derweze, Turkmenistan

door to hellPhoto: Martha de Jong-Lantink/Flickr

In 1971 scientists lit a store of natural gas on fire to ensure the poisonous gas would not harm the environment or inhabitants of a nearby village. Their thinking was the gas would burn off in a few days. Four decades later, the pit is still smoldering.

The Stone Forest, Madagascar

Tsingy de Bemaraha National ParkPhoto: RaKra42/Flickr

Ninety per cent of the species found in Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park in Madagascar are endemic, meaning you won’t find them anywhere else on Earth. In fact, because the terrain is so difficult to navigate (the word tsingy translates into English as “where one cannot walk barefoot”) most scientific expeditions to the area lead to the discovery of a new plant or animal.

Lake Natron, Tanzania

Lake Natron-2Photo: imgur

Colored a deep red from salt-loving organisms and algae, Lake Natron is one of the most alkaline lakes in the world. And while extremely hot and generally inhospitable, the lake is home to one of the most important flamingo breeding grounds in the world. 

Mount Roraima, South America

Mount Roraima, South America-2Photo: imgur

Bordered by Brazil, Venezuela, and Guyana, the 31 square kilometer summit of Mount Roraima is defended by 1,312 foot tall (400 meters) cliffs on all sides. Looking at it, we can’t help but be reminded of the fictional world of Pandora from James Cameron’s Avatar. 

Lake Retba, Cap Vert peninsula

Lake RetbaPhoto: imgur

The salty waters of Lake Retba constantly changes hues, but the most striking pink shade occurs during the dry season. Looks delicious.

Red Beach, Panjin, China

red-beach-panjin-china-1China red seaPhotos: Jia Mi/OneBigPhoto

Panjin’s Red Beach is covered in a type of sea weed called Sueda, which, while green during the summer, turns a deep red in the fall

Fly Geyser, Nevada

Fly Geyser, NevadaPhoto: Denny Thurston

Thermophilic algae is what gives Nevada’s Fly Geyser its colorful facade. Technically speaking, the geyser isn’t a natural site as it was created accidently by a geothermic energy company who drilled a test well on the site in the mid-1960s.

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