Rock formations are something up Ross’s alley and I think Rachel would agree that’s not very sexy. However, some of these naturally formed geographical wonders can be both breathtaking and mind boggling. Here are 10 such incredible natural rock formations, the result of millions of years of nature’s talent and patience.
10. Tsingy de Bemaraha | Natural Rock Formations
Located close to the western coast of Madagascar, the Tsingy de Bemaraha reserve is a karstic landscape. Sharp limestone pinnacles called tsingy form this spectacular canyon of the Manambolo river; rolling hills cut through the tsingy creating a diverse landscape. Undisturbed forests, lakes and mangrove swamps of the national park are incredibly beautiful, as well as representing the habitat for rare and endangered lemurs and birds.
9. Shilin Stone Forest
Shilin, which means “Stone Forest” in Chinese, is a set of karst formations in Southwest China. The stones have risen from the earth similar to the way a stalagmite does in a cave. These stones are thought to be 270 million years old, part of an ancient ocean floor where the water flow created the majestic pinnacles. The stone forest receives over 2 million visitors a year, and it’s easy to see why.
8. White Desert
About 45 km north of the Farafra oasis in the vast Western Desert of Egypt sits the White Desert. It’s made of oddly shaped chalk formation, in clear contrast with the yellowish brown of the surrounding desert. The White Desert reminds us all of an Arctic landscape due to its soft chalk material, contoured by the elements into amazing shapes. A few of the shapes resemble marshmallows, camels, and mushrooms. Feel free to use your imagination.
7. Bryce Canyon National Park
Despite the name, Bryce Canyon National Park is actually not a canyon; this is a series of giant amphitheaters filled with colorful pinnacles. The natural rock formations were caused by wind and water erosion on limestone, while the colors of red, orange, and white offer a wonderful visual show to be enjoyed. The pinnacles are also known as hoodoos and reach up to 61 meters (200 feet) high.
6. Bungle Bungle Range
The Bungle Bungle Range is located in Purnululu National Park, Western Australia. The range rises up to 578 meters (1896 feet) above sea level and is comprised of distinctive sandstone domes striped with alternating orange and grey bands. This is possible due to differences in clay content and porosity of the sandstone layers. The orange bands are a thin layer of iron oxide while the grey banding is cyanobacteria which grows on the layers where moisture accumulates.
5. The Giant’s Causeway
Located on the Northeast coast of Ireland, The Giant’s Causeway is a spectacular rock formation consisting of basalt columns formed 50 to 60 million years ago. Looking like God had dropped His marsh-mellows into the ocean, this superb sight is the result of volcanic activity, which pushed the basalt through chalk as the columns shot in vertical direction. They cooled, they cracked and formed a hexagonal shape. Although the columns rise up to 12 meters (36 feet) high and are beautiful, there’s more than meets the eye; many of the columns have eroded until only the tops are visible.
4. Arches National Park
Another incredible places to visit is found in Utah. The Arches National Park is known for its inspiring natural arches. It seems salt beds deposited 300 million years ago from the receding ocean helped form the more than 2000 arches in the park. As the salt shifted, the rock layered on top began to move creating domes and fins. Rain and ice found their way into crevices, eroding the top Entrada and Navajo sandstone.
3. Chocolate Hills
The Chocolate Hills are unusual geological formations that consists of at least 1,268 individual mounds scattered throughout the interior of the island of Bohol in the Philippines. No, taking a crack at them will not affect your diet, but the almost symmetrical and same-sized formations ranging from 30 to 50 meters (98 to 164 feet) high are quite beautiful; covered in green grass – which during the dry season the grass turns brow – no one knows how these giant mole hills were formed. One theory holds that the Chocolate Hills are the weathered rock formations of a kind of marine limestone on top of a impermeable layer of clay. Any ideas?
2. Monument Valley
A symbol of American West and cowboy movies, these up to 300 meter (1000 foot) sandstone buttes and mesas make up the Monument Valley. Located on the border of Utah and Arizona, the area has been the backdrop for numerous western movies, ranging from Stagecoach starring John Wayne to Back to the Future II. Technically it is not a valley, as you can see, but a wide flat landscape interrupted by the crumbling rock formations. The buttes are all that is left from the sandstone layers that once covered the entire region and have vivid red tones from the iron oxide.
1. Göreme Fairy Chimneys | Incredible Natural Rock Formations
Cappadocia is a region famous for its weird and wonderful natural rock formations and one of the top attractions in Turkey. The town of Göreme is the place to visit; located among a large number of tuff cones, termed fairy chimneys – the result of wind and water erosion of two different volcanic layers. – this is where you’ll get a first-hand look at these strange formations. Due to the ease of carving into the tuff, many of the fairy chimneys have been hollowed out over the centuries to create houses, churches and storage facilities.