We’re lucky enough to live on a planet where there are so many extremes that it can make one’s head spin. From the Arctic Tundra to the plains of Africa, the world is truly a diverse place. Amongst more common parts of the world lay places that are quite unusual, and are considered by many to be mysterious and ethereal. That said, here are 10 unusual places on Earth.
1. The Door to Hell – Darvaza, Turkmenistan
Truly one of the most unusual and magnificent places in the world, The Door to Hell is a constantly burning crater located in Turkmenistan. For over 35 years, it has enthused scientists and the general public alike. Discovered initially by exploring geologists, the Door to Hell was a large cavern full of poisonous natural gas that collapsed into a crater under the weight of the scientists’ equipment. Hoping to burn off the excess gas underground, they set it alight — and it’s been burning ever since.
2. Arizona Meteor Crater - Flagstaff, Arizona
Outside of Flagstaff, Arizona sits a meteor crater that is truly a sight to behold. Stretching 4,000 feet across, it is one of the largest natural formations in the country. It is also known as the Barringer Crater, named after Daniel Barringer, who first suggested that it might have been caused by a large impact. As one of the best preserved craters of its kind, it’s been designated a National Natural Landmark.
3. Rotorua, New Zealand
A seaside city in New Zealand, Rotorua is famous for the geothermic activity that happens in the area. Bubbling pools of mud and geysers can be seen all around the city. Rotorua is known for it’s distinct smell of sulfur. Lake Rotorua is the North Island’s second largest lake, and was formed when the gigantic magma chamber of a volcano collapsed into what is known as a caldera, which later filled with water.
4. Don Juan Pond , Antarctica
Don Juan Pond, located in Antarctica, has the highest salinity level of any body of water in the world, at 42%. Due to its amazing chemistry, it rarely if ever freezes — even in temperatures far below zero. Its extreme conditions make it a subject of great interest to scientists, who hope to learn how to detect similar brine pools on Mars through research at Don Juan.
5. Great Dune of Pyla - Arcachon Bay,France
The Great Dune of Pyla may be one of France’s most interesting geographic formations. A desert in Europe? Indeed. Surrounded by forest, it is Europe’s largest dune. Like all sand dunes, it is also moving — up to 3 or 4 meters a year, according to the French authorities. The sand is moving inland remorselessly, and it swallows up trees, roads, and even houses as it does so.
6. Mount Roraima, Triple Border Point of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana
One of the most unusual looking mountains in the world, Brazil’s Mount Roraima is completely flat on top and vertical on all sides. With some of the most incredible waterfalls in the world, Mount Roraima is an incredible formation of land and an inspiration for such stories as “The Lost World” by Arthur Conan Doyle, and even appeared in films such as ‘Up’, by Pixar. The plateau itself is composed of rock formations more than 2 billion years old, making it one of the oldest mountains in the world.
7. Roswell, New Mexico
Between Area 51 and what has come to be known as “The Roswell Incident,” this sleepy little town in New Mexico has gained quite a bit of publicity for its unusual association with alien activity. It shot to fame in 1947 when a UFO allegedly crash-landed nearby — and although the US government maintains it was nothing more than an experimental high-altitude balloon, Roswell has been synonymous with aliens ever since and a favourite topic for conspiracy theorists.
8. North Pole
The North Pole is an unusual place specifically for its distinct association with Aurora Borealis. One of the most majestic and beautiful light spectacles one could ever imagine, the Aurora Borealis is a truly unique wonder of life. The same aurora effect also happens in the southern hemisphere, but it’s called the Aurora Australis. Both effects are caused by ionized nitrogen and oxygen in the upper atmosphere.
9. Bermuda Triangle
Perhaps nowhere on Earth is surrounded by more lore than the Bermuda Triangle. Famous as an area where ships just up and disappear, it is feared by many and mysterious to all — except the agencies who insist that the number of lost vessels is not all that different to any other patch of the ocean! The triangle itself is said to cover the area between Miami, Puerto Rico, and the island of Bermuda in the mid-Atlantic, and it’s actually one of the most busy shipping lanes in the world.
10. Kauai, Hawaii
One of the most beautiful places on the planet, Kauai is a Garden of Eden in comparison to the mainland US. Its high, knife-edged cliffs and gorges, and spectacular views, are such a huge tourist attraction that visitors contribute a third of Kauai’s economy.