If you look at these photos, you might think they were created on a film set or a computer. They look like a work of fantasy, devoid of magical beings that should rightly be within frame. But that’s not the case. These photos come from right here on Earth. If you ever thought that terrestrial life was dull, check these out and enjoy some newfound appreciation for our little planet’s amazing beauty.
1.) Lake Hillier, “The Pink Lake,” Western Australia
This lake on the Recherche Archipelago is famed for its pink color. Scientists are still trying to figure out exactly how it gets its color. The popular theory is bacteria. And yes, you can swim in it.
2.) Rainbow Mountains, Gansu Province, China
These mountains in the Zhangye Danxia Geological Park feature multicolored striations of sandstone collected over the period of 24 million years. Erosion sculpted the mountains into impressive peaks and spires, and revealed the colors below.
The frozen wilds of Antarctica are some of the last places on Earth not crawling with humans, and they make spectacular vistas like this possible.
4.) Three Sisters Volcano, Oregon, USA
This volcano in the Cascade Range gets its name from its three joint peaks. The peaks are nicknamed Faith (to the north) Hope (in the middle) and Charity (to the south).
5.) Apostle Islands, Wisconsin, USA
The Apostle Islands in Lake Superior are known for their shoreline sea caves (or, in this case, lake caves). The caves are home to dazzling icicle displays in the colder months.
6.) Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska, USA
The Mendenhall Glacier, which is about 12 miles long, is sadly shrinking due to climate change.
7.) Goðafoss, Iceland
Its name means “waterfall of the gods,” and is pronounced “Gothafoss.” It’s 12 meters high and more than 30 meters across.
8.) The Devil’s Punchbowl, Central Oregon, USA
These caves are carved out by the sea along central Oregon’s coastline. The bowl shape was formed when two caves collapsed, and the site is known for its deep purple seaweed and white sands.
9.) Abraham Lake, Alberta, Canada
This lake is actually artificial, created with the construction of Bighorn Dam. Here, gas bubbles sit frozen in its ice, creating an interesting effect.
10.) Valley of Fire, Nevada, USA
This wash of sedimentary stone in the Valley of Fire State Park is a rainbow of pastels. The sandstone formations were created over millions of years from shifting desert sands.
11.) Spotted Lake, Osoyoos, British Columbia, Canada
This unusual lake gets its spots from various mineral deposits. The spots are visible in summer when much of the lake’s water evaporates. Depending on the type of mineral and the amount of water left over, the spots will be different colors. It was traditionally revered for its healing properties.
12.) Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia
This Lake Baikal, with its amazing blue ice. It freezes solid enough in the winter to support pedestrians and snowmobiles. It’s also rich in biodiversity.
13.) The Wave in Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona, USA
This famous rock formation is notoriously tricky to get to, as there’s no trail leading to it. Erosion has worn away the sandstone layers here to reveal the bands of color.
14.) Fly Geyser, Nevada, USA
This small geothermal geyser was created by accident in 1964 during well drilling. Oops. Dissolved minerals would be pushed out of the geyser with the constant water release, forming the mound seen today. The water spouts can reach 5 feet.
15.) Alentejo Beach, Portugal
This area has one of the richest diversities of flora and fauna in the country.