Travel

19 Jaw-Dropping Rock Formations Around the World

Amazing sights for adventurers.

4 weeks Discovery Channel

These breathtaking natural wonders look like they’re out of a movie.

Antelope Canyon, United States

Antelope Canyon, United States

Flash flooding and other sub-aerial processes led to the erosion of this rock which eventually formed Antelope Canyon in Arizona.

Tsingy Rouge, Madagascar

Tsingy Rouge, Madagascar

The erosion of the Irodo River led to the formation of these tall, needle-like rocks. In Malagasy, the word Tsingy actually means “where one cannot walk barefoot.” Sounds painful.

Wave Rock, Australia

Wave Rock, Australia

For over 60 million years, this granite has been exposed to both wind and water erosion, eventually creating the amazing wave-like shape.

Kannesteinen, Norway

Kannesteinen, Norway

This unusual rock is about one metre high and developed from waves crashing over it for thousands of years.

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

As a result of expanding ice and plants growing on top of that, the mysterious Zhangjiajie National Forest Park emerged (and was the inspiration for the scenery in James Cameron’s Avatar).

Elephant Rock, United States

Elephant Rock, United States

This stunning red sandstone arch formation is a highlight of the Valley of Fire in Nevada. This piece of sandstone was formed from intense erosion, faulting, and complex uplifting.

Giant’s Causeway, Ireland

Giant's Causeway, Ireland

Over 60 million years ago, tectonic plates stretched and broke from volcanic activity. Lava spilled out and formed what is now known as the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland (which you might recognise from Game of Thrones).

Hvitserkur, Iceland

Hvitserkur, Iceland

Legend has it that a frightened troll set out to tear down ringing bells in Iceland but turned to stone when he got caught in daylight. Science, on the other hand, says that this is actually just volcanic rock that was left behind when the sea eroded away the rest of the volcano.

White Desert, Egypt

White Desert, Egypt

Occasional sandstorms north of the town of Farafra formed these massive chalk monuments.

Bryce Canyon, United States

Bryce Canyon, United States

The shape of these rocks is called Hoodoo, which means to cast a spell. A huge, destructive force of water cast its own spell over this region in Utah, eroding away the rest of these rocks.

The Wave, United States

The Wave, United States

This spot can only be reached by foot. Thousands apply but only 20 lucky hikers are granted permission each day. This shape of this sandstone rock was created by water erosion first, and then by wind.

Mother and Child Rock, Zimbabwe

Mother and Child Rock, Zimbabwe

This balancing rock phenomenon actually stands without any external support. This granite outcrop formed as harsh weather eroded away the softer rock.

Trolltunga, Norway

Trolltunga, Norway

Recognisable as a favourite selfie spot for adventure-loving Instagrammers, Trolltunga, translated as troll’s tongue, hangs about 1,100 metres above sea level. It was formed about 10,000 years ago during the Ice Age. Water froze over this cliff and eventually broke off, and the “tongue” is what remains.

Ball’s Pyramid, Australia

Ball's Pyramid

Ball’s Pyramid is the tallest volcanic stack in the world. It formed 6.4 million years ago when a shield volcano eroded away.

Danxia Landform, China

Danxia Landform, China

Due to long-term desert conditions, wind, and water erosion, this red sandstone resulted in isolated peaks. Many people claim they see weird and various shapes in this landform.

Uluru, Australia

Ayers Rock, Australia

Uluru is one of the most iconic landforms in Australia and happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The formation began over 500 million years ago when the Musgrave province pushed up and created a mountain range. Today only the tips remain.

The Arbol de Piedra, Bolivia

The Arbol de Piedra

This isolated rock formation in Bolivia is also known as the “stone tree.” It is about seven metres high and got its shape from strong winds that carried the sand around it.

Painted Cliffs, Tasmania

Painted Cliffs, Tasmania

This sandstone outcrop was caused by ground water gradually filtering over previously formed sandstone. Traces of iron oxides were left behind which gave these cliffs colour.

Horseshoe Bend, United States

Horseshoe Bend, United States

This world famous bend in the Colorado river began forming millions of years ago as water brought about a cycle of erosion and deposition, creating a 300-metre drop.

Words: Nicole Giangola | Images: Shutterstock

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