Weird World Wonders: Part 1

Shilin, China

Shilin translates to “stone forest,” and this set of karst formations in southwestern China’s Yunnan Province really does look like a forest of stone. The stone pinnacles, some of which reach nearly 100 feet toward the sky, are believed to be more than 270 million years old.

Baobab Trees, Madagascar

Madagascar's baobab trees look as if they prefer to sprout their roots out the top, especially during the dry season, when they shed their leaves. The trees put those thick, cylindrical trunks to good use storing precious water.

Mud Volcanoes, Azerbaijan

Along the coast of the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan are more than 300 mud volcanoes which are basically mini-volcanoes made of mud. The bizarre geological phenomena usually belch mud and gases fairly peaceably, but they can turn violent: In 2001, a mud volcano a few miles from the capital, Baku, spit fire nearly 50 feet in the air.

Great Blue Hole, Belize

The Great Blue Hole in the coast of Belize is a giant sinkhole nearly 1,000 feet across and more than 400 feet deep that almost looks like it wants to drag victims to the center of the Earth. But this hole is a gentle giant; divers visit daily to swim among fish and ancient stalactites.

Chocolate Hills, Philippines

The island of Bohol is home to hundreds and hundreds of closely clustered limestone domes called the Chocolate Hills because of their carpet of grass, which turns brown in the dry season.

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