Earth is a weird place. It’s full of weirdos. It’s full of weird inventions like the Teddy Bear. And that weird dubstep music nonsense. But it’s also full of weird places that are also kind of cool to visit. Some are creepy. Others provide a unique experience that you can’t find anywhere else. With that in mind, let’s take a look at 8 of them.
1. Lake Natron – Northern Tanzania
Traveling here leaves you feeling like you’re on the moon. The waters of Lake Natron are inhospitable to most life forms due to their extreme temperatures – sometimes reaching 140°F (60°C) – as well as the high levels of alkaline, which can cause pH levels to exceed 12. But what really makes this place weird is all the calcified animal carcasses everywhere. But contrary to all those stories out there, the animals actually don’t turn to stone by touching the lake. Instead, the extremely reflective nature of the water confuses them and causes them to crash and die, after which they eventually calcify.
2. The Gates of Hell – Darvaza, Turkmenistan
Located in the hot, expansive Karakum Desert, this fiery crater has been burning since 1971. At that time, the Soviets were drilling the area for methane gas, but clearly had no idea just how much was under there. They found out soon enough after the drilling rig accidentally punched into a massive underground natural gas cavern. With the gas now exposed to the nearby populace, they did the only logical thing they could: they set the hole on fire with the expectation that it would burn out in a few weeks. Nearly 50 years later, we’re all still waiting.
3. Lake Hillier – Western Australia
If swimming in a lake of bubble gum is your dream, keep on dreaming. But Lake Hillier along the south coast of Western Australia gives you the next best thing. The unusual pink, vibrant color of the water is the result of an organism known as Dunaliella salina. The salt levels of the lake are comparable to the Dead Sea, but it is perfectly safe to swim in.
4. The Nazca Lines – Nazca Desert, Peru
Many of the these lines are simply, well, lines as well as basic geometrical shapes. But there are also around 70 designs that depict animals, humans, birds and flowers. Nobody knows exactly why the hell they were created and who did this for since the only way to view most of them would by airplane (which didn’t exist back then, duh) or magically floating in the sky or whatever. So this leaves us with one logical explanation: aliens. *Cue the X-Files theme* Or not. *The X-Files theme abruptly cuts off*
5. Green Lake in Tragoess – Styria, Austria
So you want to enjoy time by a lake. No, you want to go to a natural park. No, wait. The lake sounds like a great idea! But on the other hand, parks are pretty awesome places too… Why do you have to be so indecisive, you big bozo? The good news is that you can visit the Green Lake in Tragoess which is a park in the winter and lake during the warm months. How the hell is that possible? As winter approaches the lake recedes, creating shallow water of around 3 to 7 ft (1 to 2 meters) deep. Once the snow in the surrounding Hochschwab Mountains melts, the lake fills up to around 40 ft (12 m) by July, making it ideal for deep divers. You can even find trees and benches under the water!
6. Spotted Lake – British Columbia
Spotted Lake is a pretty weird place, and not just because it’s located in the weirdest country in the world (Canada!) but because of the high concentration of various minerals that leave these colorful spots. Some of the minerals include: magnesium sulfate (delicious!), calcium (succulent!) and sodium sulphates (melts in your mouth!) and silver (yum!) and titanium (oh, that tastes so good!). While you are welcome to take pictures of it from the highway, it’s privately owned by the First Nations, so swimming isn’t an option unless you’ve got “getting arrested for trespassing” on your bucket list.
7. The Tianzi Mountains – Hunan Province China
What makes the Tianzi Mountains eerie is the perpetual mist and the skinny mountains that were formed as a result of 320 million years of erosion. It also served as the inspiration for the Pandora mountainscape in that James Cameron movie that everybody is always fussing about. The one with those weird blue cat people, you know?
8. Whale Bone Alley – Siberia, Russia
On a quest to find yourself some huge whale jaw bones, ribs, and vertebrae but not sure where to look? Might we suggested Whale Bone Alley? Yes, we may. Located on the northern tip of Siberia’s remote Yttygran Island, around 600 years ago the native tribes would slaughter whales and place the bones in long rows along the shore. What you see today is a haunting reminder in the form of a colossal boneyard. Archeologists believe the place was a site where all of the tribes could gather together in mutual worship.