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Alien Landscapes on Earth: Unbelievable Photos of Otherworldly Places
James Scrachan

Sossusvlei, Namibia

This isn’t a scene from a desolate, alien planet. This is a photograph from the towering red dunes of Soussusvlei, Namibia, which reach nearly 1,300 feet, or 400 meters high into the sky. It’s a Martian-like environment, and its name translates to “dead-end.” It’s all because these dunes create a dead-end-like wall for the Tsauchab River, preventing it from flowing any further. Over millions of years, the wind has sculpted these dunes as dust from the Orange River, the longest river in South Africa. It’s one of the oldest landscapes on earth and is home to different insects and animals like spiders and beetles (And Beyond).

Alien Landscapes on Earth: Unbelievable Photos of Otherworldly Places
Matteo Colombo

Waitomo Caves, New Zealand

Travel to New Zealand for a different kind of light show, one that’s not in the sky. Even though these caves belong on an alien planet, we’re happy that they’re here on Earth. This is where you find the best glowworm sights in the world, which you can explore by kayak or boat. It’s come straight out of a sci-fi movie. All it’s missing are the aliens, though the glowworms seem to do the trick. Local guide Logan Doull said, “The local Māori people knew these caves existed but were wary of them because they were considered to be portals to the underworld. It was better to keep away than go beyond the reach of daylight and meddle with the spirits.” It seems like there’s no better way to describe them than as gateways to the underworld (National Geographic).

Alien Landscapes on Earth: Unbelievable Photos of Otherworldly Places
Ratnakorn Piyasirisorost

Wadi Rum, South Jordan

This desert covers 277 square miles, or 717 square kilometers, and looks like the surface of Saturn. This dramatic wilderness encompasses much of South Jordan, and its wide sandy valleys scratch over a mile, or 1600 meters, high. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with natural arches, narrow gorges, landslides, and caverns. It’s here you’ll find 25,000 rock carvings and 20,000 inscriptions that trace human evolution back millions of years (WHC).

Alien Landscapes on Earth: Unbelievable Photos of Otherworldly Places
CN Traveler

Torri del Vajolet (Vajolet Towers), Dolomites, Italy

Aside from being breathtaking, the Dolomites in Italy look like pillars from the moon. This alien landscape attracts thousands of trekkers and rock climbers every single year. These gorgeous pillars aren’t only good in the spring and summer months, either. If you’re an avid skier, you’ll have your fair share of adrenaline rush activities during wintertime (The Common Wanderer).

Alien Landscapes on Earth: Unbelievable Photos of Otherworldly Places
Jeremy Woodhouse

Fly Geyser, USA

Pictured here is not an alien family. It’s located here on planet Earth. In the middle of the Nevada desert, this technicolor geyser spews out hot water which creates shallow pools. Thermophilic algae flourish in this hot environment. Believe it or not, this manmade geyser was created when a geothermal company drilled the site to tap into the hot water beneath the earth. The improperly plugged hot water pierced through the surface to create this three-mound geyser. The space is not currently open to the public, so we’ll just have to appreciate it with this photograph, from afar (Visit Reno Tahoe).

Alien Landscapes on Earth: Unbelievable Photos of Otherworldly Places
CN Traveler

Socotra, Yemen

These trees closely resemble UFO’s here on planet Earth. If these trees aren’t from an alien planet, we’re not sure what is. It contains a thriving flora and fauna that’s biodiverse and home to thousands of different species. This place has been a part of traveler’s tales for centuries, with the earliest explorers mesmerized by the island’s strangely shaped trees. It’s one of the most isolated landforms on Earth, and is a part of the ancient southern supercontinent of Gondwana (Welcome to Socotra).

Alien Landscapes on Earth: Unbelievable Photos of Otherworldly Places
EAchat

Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii

On this extraterrestrial landscape, lava spews into the Pacific Ocean. This creates striking scenes along the rugged coastline that look like it’s from a fireball. It’s located in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, about 45 miles, or 72 kilometers southwest of Hilo. Since 1983, this volcano has constantly erupted and has destroyed nearly 200 homes (NPS).

Alien Landscapes on Earth: Unbelievable Photos of Otherworldly Places
Lindsay_imagery

Lake Hillier, Western Australia

If you never thought a pink lake could exist, think again. This bright pink lake belongs in the backyard of an alien home. But lucky for us, it’s also in Western Australia and is located on Middle Island. The contrast between the dark blue waters, green forest, and pink lake is striking and makes a stunning natural palette of colors. Scientists still aren’t 100% sure how the lake gets its rosy hue, but they suspect it’s the Dunaliella salina microalgae found in the lake. You’ll get stunning views whether you’re flying above it on a plane, or walking next to it. It’s shaped like a footprint and measures 600 meters wide. It’s very possible it could be the footprint of an alien, but we’ll never really know (Western Australia).

Alien Landscapes on Earth: Unbelievable Photos of Otherworldly Places
Mazzzur

Kawah Ijen Volcano, Indonesia

The country of Indonesia has some of the most spectacular, breathtaking natural beauty in the world. So it’s not surprising that the electric-blue water ejected from the Kawah Ijen Volcano made this list. Even though it looks like the starry sky of an alien planet, it’s found on Earth. The volcano emits sulfurous gases that ignite when they meet the Earth’s atmosphere, which is rich in oxygen. This creates a rich blue flame that illuminates the volcanic landscapes at night. During the daytime, it looks like any other volcano. If you’re a night owl, then this is the place for you (Geology).

Alien Landscapes on Earth: Unbelievable Photos of Otherworldly Places
CN Traveler

Painted Dunes of Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

These dunes weren’t painted by an alien but from oxidized layers of volcanic ash. This lies in the shadow of the Cinder Cone volcano, which formed during eruptions in the 1650s. It’s impossible to take a bad photograph in these parts. It’s the place to bask in picturesque meadows and otherworldly landscapes. The Cinder Cone volcano sits at 700 feet high, amid spots of orange and red (Travel Awaits).

Alien Landscapes on Earth: Unbelievable Photos of Otherworldly Places
CN Traveler

Dos Ojos, Tulum, Mexico

Every avid scuba diver needs to dive in this crystal clear cenote at least once in their life. Deep in the cavern, it feels like another world. Although anyone can snorkel in this cenote, the real adventure is saved for divers. A cenote is a vast network of underground rivers, once worshipped by the early Mayans. Based on this photograph, you could probably see why (The Barefoot Nomad).

Alien Landscapes on Earth: Unbelievable Photos of Otherworldly Places
David C Tomlinson

Pamukkale, Turkey

Also referred to as the Cotton Castle, this serene landscape looks like it belongs on Venus. Mineral pools surround white, “cotton-like” ridges and shelves. This is all thanks to the high concentration of calcium bicarbonate which spills over the edge of the cliff. You can relax in the myriad of natural spa pools in this otherworldly location. Ruins, temples, and Greek monuments can be found at the site (WHC).

Alien Landscapes on Earth: Unbelievable Photos of Otherworldly Places
Street Flash

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

As the largest salt flat in the world, the Salar de Uyuni spans over 3,800 square miles or 10,000 square kilometers. If you do happen to venture to outer space one day, you’ll be able to see this alien landscape from space. At its center, you’re looking at depths of 32 feet, or 10 meters, and over 10 billion tons of salt. This is where you’ll get natural, geometric patterns imprinted on earth, like an artist’s landscape (Thrifty Nomads).

Alien Landscapes on Earth: Unbelievable Photos of Otherworldly Places
Ignacio Palacios

Lençois Maranhenses National Park, Brazil

These swathes of sweeping white dunes create an otherworldly landscape, and from May to September, rainwater fills the crystal-clear pools. These dunes span over 43 miles or 70 kilometers. In Portuguese, the name translates to rolling white dunes. Wandering across this heavenly landscape is an experience unlike any other. Why travel to another planet when you have these sprawling dunes in South America, right at your doorstep? (CNN).

Alien Landscapes on Earth: Unbelievable Photos of Otherworldly Places
Andrea Comi

Vatnajokull Glacier, Iceland

As the second-largest glacier in all of Europe, it comes as no surprise that this landscape looks like it was pulled right from the moon. You might even expect an alien to jump out from the corner and scare anyone who walks by. The glacier is over 3,000 feet, or 900 meters deep. Several active volcanoes sit right beneath its surface. The most famous volcanoes are called Grímsvötn, Öræfajökull and Bárðarbunga. Unfortunately, thanks to global warming, the glacier shrinks about 3 feet or 0.9 meters per year. The glacier itself has over 30 outlet glaciers, which remain restrained in the valley (Guide to Iceland).

Alien Landscapes on Earth: Unbelievable Photos of Otherworldly Places
GenXu

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam

Right in the heart of this Vietnamese national park is Han Son Doong, also known as the largest cave in the world. This is the place to visit if you love spelunking and alien landscapes that can house a block of New York City skyscrapers. It’s also home to the world’s largest stalagmites, measuring up to 260 feet, or 80 meters into the air. There’s a high level of biodiversity and endemic species, vital for the limestone landscapes (WHC).

Alien Landscapes on Earth: Unbelievable Photos of Otherworldly Places
CN Traveler

Wulingyuan Scenic Area, Zhangjiajie, China

If you’re an avid Avatar fan, then you might have seen this landscape before. But you don’t need to jump through the television screen to experience something as remarkable as this. In China, this 100-mile attraction contains thousands of pillars of sandstone. This is nature’s version of skyscrapers, some of which stretch higher than the Empire State Building. People refer to it as the “contractible fairyland,” with hidden valleys and limestone caves (Travel China Guide).

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