There are some very strange geological formations on this earth. From tall pillars to leaning rocks, from symmetrical cones to circular holes, these anomalies grab our attention because they are so unusual, sometimes even fanciful. They can be found all over the world, but areas of active geology are perhaps the best places to see these formations.
Some of our favorite examples of unusual geology are chronicled in the pictures below. See the spires and pinnacles at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, where the spires are known as “Hoodoos.”
Here is a single hoodoo called Thor’s Hammer.
Another single spire is found on the island of Maui, in Iao Valley State Park. Here the culprit is called the Iao Needle.
Multiple pinnacles can be found on the Needles Highway in Custer State Park, South Dakota.
Monument Valley, on Navaho tribal grounds in Arizona is noted for its unusual shapes, butte, and mesas. These are the vistas so often seen in John Ford westerns.
Fantastic and unusual shapes are the rule at Garden of the Gods State Park, in Colorado Springs, CO.
Perhaps the most incredible collection of unusual shapes can be found along the Li River in China. The boat ride from Guilin to Yangshuo passes by some of the best examples of karst (glacial) landscape in the world. This scene can be found on Chinese money.
Here is another example
Arches are another example of unusual geology. Unfortunately, they are temporary structures and will eventually be worn away. This is the largest arch in the world, Rainbow Bridge.
Here is an arch at Bryce Canyon.
The Grand Canyon is, of course, a wonderful example of river geology. The Colorado River has cut this incredible canyon exposing millions of years of earth history.
Here is another view.
Yosemite Valley was sculptured by glaciers and has the steep walls to prove it.
Another valley that sports unusual rock formations is Oak Creek Canyon, in Sedona, Arizona. Here are red rock formations that stimulate the imagination.
No wonder car commercials often feature this drive.
Considering imagination, look at Camel Hill, a fixture in Seven Star Park, Guilin, China.
White things are not terribly common in nature, so expanses of white, at White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, fit this post admirably
as do the White Cliffs of Dover,
Colors in nature are particularly arresting and great draws on the tourist scene. Thus, Death Valley National Park is popular with people who love the unusual, the colorful, and the weird.
Zabriskie Point is fascinating as well.
One of Lee’s favorite places in the US is Devil’s Tower National Monument, in northeastern Wyoming. It is actually the core of an extinct volcano, but legends about the structure abound. It was even used in the alien movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
Up close it is even more intriguing.
As stark as Devil’s Tower looks as it rises above the flat landscape, another site is even more dramatic. Meteor Crater, near Winslow, Arizona, is the crater formed by a chunk of space debris 50,000 years ago..