Sign In

30 Most Unusual Geological Wonders of the World

30 Most Unusual Geological Wonders of the World

We’re blessed with a lot that we can’t imagine: landmarks that defy gravity, mountains that boast every color in the rainbow, and unique features you wouldn’t believe exist. Here are some of the most unusual geological wonders in the world:

Eye of Sahara ⎯ Mauritania

Photo credit: Elen11 via Canva Pro.

Typically known as the Richat Structure, the Eye of Sahara is a geological formation that spans 40 kilometers and looks like a bull’s eye from the sky. It was initially believed that a meteorite caused the rocky formation. Still, extensive research has now revealed it’s all due to Mother Nature painstakingly forming these rings after millennia’s worth of rock erosion.

Rainbow Mountain ⎯ Peru

Photo credit: Davidionut via Canva Pro.

Located southeast of Cusco, Vinicunca is an extensive mountain range best known for its streaks of multiple colors that cascade over each other. The Rainbow Mountains get their many colors from their unique mineral composition, deposited over millions of years, creating hidden layers until changing climate patterns reveal them. Naturally, this destination is one of Peru’s finest and is flocked by hundreds of tourists yearly.

Pamukkale ⎯ Turkey

Photo credit: Mikdam via Canva Pro.

The Cotton Castle, or Pamukkale, is a Turkish city that boasts layers of stunning white travertine terraces filled with small pools of mineral-rich waters that slowly cascade to the bottom. A simple look, and you can tell Mother Nature put a lot of effort into it; the terraces formed after cascading water left behind minerals, allowing it to deposit in a stair-y pattern.

The Wave ⎯ Arizona/Utah

Photo credit: Kojihirano via Canva Pro.

Straddling the Utah border, the Wave is an impressive sandstone formation across Arizona. The bright brown cliffs appear streaked with red lines, almost as if a painter carefully ran his paintbrush over them. The Wave formed after centuries of erosion, shaped by wind and rain to give it a soft, curvy appearance. Aside from its unique shape, the Wave also brags a variety of colors: red from high iron oxide, while other minerals and elements give it occasional yellow and pale hues.

Fly Geyser ⎯ Nevada

Photo credit: Spencer Jones via Canva Pro.

Located in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, the Fly Geyser is a geological formation that took shape after a drilling expedition in search of hot water, but it failed to seal its hole correctly in 1964. Years later, the Fly Geyser’s occasional eruptions into the air left behind sediments of minerals, which accumulated to create cones and travertine pools. Since then, the Fly Geyser frequently spits out hot water, leaving behind a hot mist quickly blown away by the wind.

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park ⎯ Madagascar

Photo credit: Mantaphoto via Canva Pro.

Tsingy was named due to unique, sharp-edged limestone formations erected over the entire park, creating one of the world’s most horrifying and simultaneously beautiful geological landmarks. Tsingy de Bemaraha appeared after centuries of acidic rain, which created layers of sedimentation, providing a jagged backdrop and a hotspot for biodiversity.

Underwater Waterfall ⎯ Mauritius

Photo credit: Myroslava via Canva Pro.

Mauritius’ unique destination involves a bit of science and trickery. The underwater waterfall is layers of sand and silt driven away by the currents into the deep end. Still, because of the numerous hints of blue, it almost looks like part of the water is flowing within itself. This isn’t the only factor at play here; Mauritius is a volcanic area, so the deep crevices of the Le Morne Brabant peninsula create an optical illusion that is best observed from the air.

Fumaroles Yellowstone ⎯ Wyoming, USA

Photo credit: ES3N via Canva Pro.

Fumaroles are Yellowstone National Park‘s hottest geothermal feature. The Fumaroles are vents in the earth’s crust formed after scalding volcanic rocks come in contact with water, creating an intense pressure that spews hot steam and boiling water. Naturally, the Fumaroles are only safe from a distance since even the slightest contact can be life-threatening. But a simple view from afar convinces you of Yellowstone’s unique destinations.

Marble Caves ⎯ Chile

Photo credit: Adrian Wojcik via Canva Pro.

A nature preserve located close to Puerto Tranquilo, the Marble Caves are a stunning natural wonder that took shape after millennia’s worth of effort. The extensive cave system was formed after layers of calcium carbonate were deposited on the surface and further shaped by high winds and waves, sculpting caves, tunnels, and even swirling pillars. The caves’ unique composition also colors them white, with occasional streaks of blue that shine when the sun hits at just the right angle.

Giant Causeway⎯ UK

Photo credit: Reset728 via Canva Pro.

After an incredible volcanic eruption, the ground in County Antrim near Ireland carved itself into 40,000 unique hexagonal basalt columns. This astonishing feat was achieved after the intensely hot molten lava collided with the sea, rapidly cooling on the spot and leaving behind odd-shaped pillars scattered throughout the area. The Giant Causeway’s appearance is so unique that it even prompted fairy tales about being purposely placed by a giant to cross over to Scotland to fight another rival.

Uyuni Salt Flat⎯ Bolivia

Photo credit: Junki0110 via Canva Pro.

Located in southwest Bolivia, the Uyuni salt flat is the world’s largest salt pan, spanning roughly 11,000 kilometers. The salt pan boasts hexagonal outlines, almost like someone painstakingly carved them with a palette knife. This incredible formation owes to the intense evaporation of prehistoric lakes, which left crusty layers of lithium-rich brine and salt. Amazingly, although the salt pan appears incredibly dry, the salt transforms into a sheen-like layer during wet seasons, creating a stunning painting that deserves recognition.

The Door To Hell ⎯ Turkmenistan

Photo credit: Iwanami_Photos via Canva Pro.

Not all geological wonders are breathtaking; some can be terrifyingly beautiful. The Door to Hell, or the Darvaza, is a massive gas crater that spans 70 meters in diameter. Despite such gas craters existing all over the world, what makes this one unique is how it was formed; soviet explorers accidentally drilled into the cavern, causing it to collapse. The cavern began spitting methane, so the researchers lit it on fire to quickly extinguish it, but ever since the first fire in 1971, the crater’s flame has never faltered.

The Danakil Depression ⎯ Ethiopia

Photo credit: Artush Foto via Canva Pro.

From afar, you’d think layers of algae were seeping out from a giant pool, but that’s just how the beauty of the Danakil Depression works. This gorgeous landmark lies below sea level over the East African Rift system. Intense tectonic activity stretched the ground, allowing magma to escape from below, creating massive volcanoes and salt flats. Despite being one of the prettiest geological formations, it’s highly hostile and is only appreciable from above.

Pink Lakes

Vibrant pink lake with a white shore.
Photo credit: Naeblys via Canva Pro.

Believe it or not, the earth hosts sandy shores that ditch golden hues and pick up bright tinges of pink instead. One of the most popular ones is Lake Hillier in Australia, which gets its bright pink shade from a thriving population of Dunaliella salina, an algae that produces pink-hued carotenoids. Lake Hillier is prone to damage, so it has been sectioned off entirely. However, tourists can still tour the lake from above. Another worth-visiting pink lake is the Lake Retba in Senegal. The same algae tinge the Lake Retba in Senegal with a bright pink, but a change in weather dramatically impacts its coloration.

Cenotes of Mexico

Photo credit: Anna Subbotina via Canva Pro

Cenotes, a natural watery pit that forms after the collapse of limestone, is one of the most popular destinations in Mexico. You can find the most popular cenotes in Mexico; the Cenote Ik Kil is a natural sinkhole that plunges 40 feet below, surrounded by expansive lush vegetation. The cenote Ik Kil is so unique and rare that the Mayans considered it sacred and believed it to be a popular spot for their rituals. Another breathtaking cenote in Mexico is Dos Ojos – a combination of two deep cenotes that formed side by side, making it look like a pair of eyes from above. Dos Ojos is one of the longest and deepest underwater cave systems, so tourists can only explore the top 100 meters, which has become a popular diving and snorkeling spot.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves ⎯ New Zealand

Photo credit: Martin Vlnas via Canva Pro.

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are like stepping into another world. Imagine yourself floating in a boat that is navigating through the dark caves which is lit by thousands of tiny worms glowing in blue. These worms create a surreal blue-green light that feels straight out of a fairytale. To top it off, there are impressive limestone formations, to make your experience even more memorable. Visitors often describe the tour to this caves as outwardly, leaving them in awe of Mother Nature. 

Mount Kelimutu ⎯ Indonesia

Photo credit: bicicleting via Canva Pro.

Another great natural wonder is Mount Kelimutu in Indonesia that is famous for its three crater lakes, each with its own distinct color. These lakes change colors regularly due to the types of minerals in the water. Surrounded by lush green landscapes, this volcano offers a breathtaking contrast that’s both beautiful and mysterious. Getting to the Mount Kelimutu is fairly easy. You can take a motorbike taxi (ojek), car, or public transport to the parking lot, followed by a 30-minute walk.

Badab-e Surt ⎯ Iran

Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Badab-e Surt in Iran is a geological wonder that looks straight out of a fairytale. With its terraced pools in shades of orange, red, and yellow, the landscape it forms cannot be described in words. These pools were formed over thousands of years by mineral-rich spring water. Another great highlight is that this location is remote, and not many people visit it, making it a great opportunity to view it without crowds. Badab Surt is an 8-hour drive from Tehran via Sari or Semnan roads. From Orost Village, tourists have to take a truck or 4WD on a rough road and then hike 3 kilometers to reach the springs.

Blood Falls ⎯ Antarctica

Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Anybody would get scared by the name of Blood Falls, but don’t be. This waterfall gets its name from the iron-rich red-colored water that flows down from the Tayler Glacier in Antarctica. The blood-red color flowing can be both haunting and fascinating, making it a unique phenomenon. The clear water turns red as it comes into contact with air. While some scientists believe that there is an answer to this natural wonder, the mystery still remains until we have a definite answer.  

Tianzi Mountains ⎯ China

Photo credit: Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images.

Imagine yourself stepping into a live painting – that’s exactly how you feel when you visit the Tianzi Mountains in China. Located in the Wulingyuan District of Zhangjiajie, Tianzi Mountain Natural Reserve is part of the world-renowned Wulingyuan Scenic Area. Home to the highest peak in the region, Tianzi Mountain is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes. Visitors can view four stunning sceneries here: misty clouds covering the cliffs, a lit sky, rays of sunshine over the mountains, and snow in the winter season. 

Lençóis Maranhenses ⎯ Brazil

Photo credit: Léo Castro via Unsplash.

As you step onto the Lençóis Maranhenses in Brazil, you’ll feel like you’re hallucinating. This surreal landscape features white sand dunes with crystal-clear freshwater lagoons between March and September – a sight that is rare to see anywhere else. As strange as it may sound, this natural wonder doesn’t make it to the list of many people due to its distance, but if you want to venture this far north, you can combine your tour with São Luis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located about 150 miles west of the park.

Chocolate Hills ⎯ Philippines

Photo credit: AlexeyPelikh via Canva Pro.

No, they are not made of chocolate! These are over 1,700 limestone peaks, covered with karst mounds that turn them brown in color in the dry season, resembling giant chocolate mounds. The Chocolate Hills is a famous tourist attraction that is visited by thousands every year. To view these cliffs, you must first travel to Bohol and then ride a bus or van to the town of Carmen, where the viewpoint is situated. 

Fingal’s Cave ⎯ Scotland

Photo credit: Charlton Buttigieg via Canva Pro.

Fingal’s Cave is located on the uninhabited island of Staffa in Scotland. It is famous for its hexagonal basalt columns and natural acoustics, which make it look like a cathedral. Formed by volcanic activity, the Cave creates an eerie and beautiful sound as waves crash inside. There is a walkway that allows visitors to go inside and witness the breathtaking formation complemented by clear blue waters when the tides are low. 

Jeju Lava Tubes ⎯ South Korea

Photo credit: FransTD via Canva Pro.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Jeju Lava Tubes on Jeju Island are a cluster of volcanic caves that were formed by flowing lava. The island comprises three sites making up to 18,846 ha. The inside of these tubes features multicolored carbonate floors and roofs, dark lava walls, and a fortress-like cone coming out of the ocean. Mount Halla, with its array of waterfalls and a lake-filled crater, further adds to the scenic landscape. Currently, the site is closed for construction and is expected to reopen in 2025. 

Angel Falls ⎯ Venezuela

Photo credit: FabioFilzi via Canva Pro.

Angel Falls is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall, which plunges over 3,200 feet from the top of Auyán-tepui in Venezuela. Surrounded by lush rainforest, this breathtaking waterfall is a true natural wonder standing amidst an isolated jungle. There are only two ways to visit Angel Falls: by flowing over it in an aircraft for panoramic views or by reaching the Canaima Camp, from where you can reach the base of the waterfall through the canoe and then a short uphill hike. 

Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen) ⎯ Norway

Photo credit: Jordi Vich Navarro via Unsplash.

Pulpit Rock, or Preikestolen, offers one of the most stunning views in Norway. This flat-topped rock formation rises nearly 2,000 feet above Lysefjord. Hiking to Preikestolen takes about four to five hours round trip. The challenging hike is rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views, making it a favorite among hikers and nature lovers. The exhilarating feeling of standing on the edge of the cliff, watching the stunning landscape consisting of fjords and mountains, is just unmatched. 

Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park ⎯ Indonesia

Photo credit: Aldrin Rachman Pradana via Unsplash.

Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park in Indonesia is home to the active Mount Bromo volcano. The park is the country’s only conservation area with a 10 km sea from which the four volcanic cones have emerged. However, Mount Bromo is still the only one that is active to date. The best way to explore the park is through a guided tour. The most popular tour is with a 4×4 jeep from Malang to Bromo and Ijen Crater. On your way, you may stop at other landmarks, such as Coban Pelangi Waterfall and Ngadas Village.

Blue Hole ⎯ Belize

Photo credit: Michael Conlin via Canva Pro.

The Great Blue Hole is a stunning natural wonder within the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a must-do activity for divers visiting Belize, thanks to its crystal-clear depths revealing breathtaking stalactites and diverse marine life. Even if you don’t want to dive deep, you can swim in the hole. Flying over the Blue Hole gives you an amazing view of the entire reef system. 

Valley of Geysers ⎯ Russia

Photo credit: yykkaa via Canva Pro.

Valley of Geysers, located on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia, is the second-largest concentration of geysers in the world. This remote valley features numerous geysers, hot springs, and fumaroles, creating a magical landscape looking straight out of a storybook. It’s a fascinating destination for those intrigued by geothermal activity. The only access to the valley is by helicopter. Unplanned visits to the area are not permitted to protect its environment. 

White Desert (Sahara el Beyda) ⎯ Egypt

Photo credit: James Rivera via Canva Pro.

The White Desert, also known as the Sahara el Beyda, is a unique landscape located on the western side of Egypt. The desert is known for its white rock formations that have been sculpted into various shapes over centuries due to wind and sand erosion. The sand and white rocks comprise limestone, white calcium, or quartz crystals. Along with these beautiful formations, visitors can spot an array of wildlife here, such as fennec fox, Rhmim gazelle, Sand cats, and barbary sheep. 

A woman sitting on a mountain. Behind her is a lake.
Travel Writer | Website

Emese Maczko is a travel blogger behind Eco Lodges Anywhere. Having explored several destinations around Europe, the US, Indonesia, and Australia, and resided in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Luxembourg, Emese possesses a keen understanding of diverse cultures and an appreciation for the beauty of each destination she visits. She advocates for sustainable travel and ecotourism.