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15 of the Strangest Geological Formations

6. Richat Structure, Mauritania

Richat Structure, Mauritania
Richat Structure, Mauritania. Image credits: NASA.gov

Richat Structure is the geological structure formed after the uplifting of a dome. The dome has been eroded, and it has exposed the original flat rock layers beneath it. The structure is extensive; it is 40 kilometers in diameter.

The concentric rings are the sedimentary rock layers around the igneous rock layers in the center. The central rock layer is older than the outer rings and is also known as “bullseye.” The Richat Structure lies in the Sahara’s Adrar Plateau near Ouadane, Mauritania, Northwest Africa.

The structure has held the attention of astronauts ever since NASA has sent humans into the Earth’s orbit. The site has also been a great source of exceptional Acheulean archaeological artifacts, which include stone tools. (1, 2)

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7. Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Mount Roraima
Mount Roraima

Mount Roraima is a mountain with 400-meter-high cliffs on all its four sides. The structure is the trisecting point for the three countries of Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana. It is located in the southern corner of Venezuela and is a part of Canaima National Park.

The mountain ranges in which Roraima is included are said to be one of the oldest geological formations known. Some geologists even date the formations back to two billion years ago.

The place is continuously inundated with rain. This condition has given rise to a unique ecosystem that includes some unique species such as the carnivorous pitcher plant. It also is home to some of the world’s highest waterfalls.

The place is also the inspiration behind the dubbed “Paradise Falls” featured in the Pixar movie, Up. (1, 2)

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8. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

Landscape of Giant's Causeway trail
The landscape of Giant’s Causeway trail

Giant’s Causeway is the area of around 40,000 irregular basalt columns that appear like steps creeping into the sea. This place is located 40 kilometers northeast of Derry on the edge of Antrim Plateau between Causeway Head and Benbane Head.

Landscape of Giant's Causeway trail
The landscape of Giant’s Causeway trail

The steps were formed about 50 to 60 million years ago during the Paleogene Period when flowing lava slowly moved towards the coast, cooled down, and then came in contact with the sea.

Layers of basalt gave rise to the columns and in turn, the pressure between these columns resulted in these polygonal shapes. The steps are up to 82 feet high and vary from 15 to 20 feet in diameter.

The place has been declared a World Heritage Site since 1986 and much of the site is owned and managed by the National Trust.

There are also some legends around its origin, and they say that the columns are remains of a causeway built by a giant. (1, 2)

9. Reed Flute Cave, China

Reed Flute Cave
Reed Flute Cave

The famous cave is located in Guangxi, China. As the name suggests, it is used to extract the reeds that grow at the entrance of the cave. These reeds are used for making flutes and other wind instruments.

Reed Flute Cave
Reed Flute Cave

The interior of the cave is filled with a variety of beautiful geological formations. The formations were originally made up of soft limestone, but they went through decades of water erosion. The cave features rock formations such as stalactites, stalagmites, etc.

In history, the cave was used as a hideaway and was only discovered in the 1940s when Japanese forces were accepting refugees in the cave during World War II.

Now the place is lightened up by a strange mix of bright neon colors to eliminate the darkness inside the cave and also to make it more alluring. (1, 2)

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10. Wave Rock, Australia

Wave Rock
Wave Rock

Wave Rock appears like a tall ocean wave or as if a massive wave suddenly turned into a stone or petrified. The strange formation lies near the small town of Hyden, Perth, Australia, and the native Aboriginals called the structure “Kattar Kich.”

The wave feature of the rock is 15 meters tall and 110 meters long. The wave is the northern part of the hill known as Hyden Rock.

Wave Rock
Wave Rock

The attractive structure is made up of layers of stone and is an example of a landform known as a “flared slope,” which forms at the base of an inselberg. “Inselberg” is a hill or a mountain projected out of a plain.

A dam and a wall above the rock were built in December 1928 to funnel the rainwater down through the wall and the rock to the dam for storage. (1, 2)

Also read:  Top Thirteen Deepest Places on Earth!

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