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7 Tremendous Geological & Geographical Oddities That Still Baffle Scientists

Geographical oddities
Mt. Kelimutu, Indonesia

A Tasty Selection of Geological Mysteries & Unexplained Geographical Features

Although we’ve set our eyes towards the epic geological mysteries of our solar system, here on goods ol’ Earth there are still plenty of geographical oddities we haven’t been able to explain

From weird geological formations to unexplained geographical features, here we’ll feature a few of our favourite landforms, some famous, most less known.

Related

13 Archeological Mysteries You Probably don’t Know

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1. Tepui, the ‘House of the Gods’

Tepui geology mysteries

These hollow quartz mountains, raising like stone fortresses thousands of meters above the Amazon Forests inspired Doyle’s “Lost World” with their mystery.

Isolated by hundreds of metres of steep cliffs, forming a unique habitat on their tops and inside their maze of caves, each hides a secret, long-lost world of unique flora and fauna.

Untouched for millions of years, they host a secret world that has evolved in parallel with its surroundings.

Most known caves form in limestone – calcium carbonate – which readily dissolves in water.

But the tepui caves run through quartz sandstone, which is less susceptible to water erosion, so caves form much more slowly. They are much older.

Life evolves in these sunless labyrinths, cut off from the rest of the world. The only way in is via entrances high in the walls or on the mountaintops, which can soar as high as 3000 metres.

Most of the Tepui’s secrets are yet do be discover, these are among the most difficult places to access on the earth’s surface. You can get there only by helicopter and with perfect weather conditions (very rare).

John Oehler

Tepui: The Last Expedition

2. Cave of the Crystals, Mexico

Unexplained geological formations

Roughly 26 million years ago, a mound of magma strained upward through the earth beneath southeastern Chihuahua, Mexico.

This rising magma forced hot, mineral-rich waters into caverns and gaps in the forming mountain. It was in these waters that the giant crystals of Naica were born.

In the year 2000, miners searching for ore deposits 300 meters below the surface, stumbled upon the largest crystals in the world.

Massive, milky-white crystals towered around them, luminous beams of gypsum bigger than trees, nearly 12 m long and up to 4 m wide, gleamed in the miners’ lights, jutting in all directions out of the brown limestone walls, floors, and ceiling.

The temperature inside the cave though, was unbearable, reaching up to 58 °C (136 °F) with 90 to 99 percent humidity.

Without proper protection, people can only endure approximately ten minutes of exposure at a time.

To explore the cave, researchers had to develop special refrigerated suits, but the density of the Crystals was too thick for them to explore further without breaking any of these 500,000-year-old marvels.

In a sample taken from inside a crystal, a kind of bacteria was found that the researchers were able to reanimate. They aren’t closely related to anything in the known genetic databases.

Exposure to air, unfortunately, is not enjoyable for gypsum crystals, that were starting to deteriorate fast.

In October 2015, the cave was reflooded, filled once more with the mineral-rich water required for the crystals to grow… for another cycle of eternity

See the documentary

Naica: Secrets Of The Crystal Cave

3. The Great Unconformity

Great Unconformity Mystery

The Great Unconformity (GU) is one of geology’s deepest mysteries. It is a gap of missing time in the geological record between 100 million and 1 billion years long, and it occurs in different rock sections around the world

Earlier explained with the Snowball-Earth theory, new evidence points to 6–8 vertical kilometers of fresh rock material uplifting at the end of the Precambrian, due to a geologically unique push from the Earth’s core.

In hot environments like those deep in Earth, zircon crystals steadily lose helium atoms due to nuclear reactions.

Those atoms rise up until they solidify, creating a “jail” impassable by the next atoms, thus uplifting what’s above with incredible power. 7km of rock, exposing deep Vishnu Basement Rocks.

New studies suggest this unparalleled event was caused by the uplifting of the supercontinent Rodinia, the ancestor of Pangaea.

This same theory reverts the previous one, affirming the so-called “snowball Earth” was triggered by it and not viceversa.

Chemical weathering associated with the erosion that formed the GU likely pulled the greenhouse gas carbon, causing the earth’s temperature to drop.

But much of this still remains a mystery, why the uplifting of Pangaea didn’t cause such a thing?

4. The Blue Eye of the Sahara – Mauritania

Mysterious geographical features
Image NASA

The Blue Eye of the Sahara, also known as the Richat Structure, is a geological formation in the Sahara Desert, stretching across a 40 kilometer-wide region of Mauritania.

In the early Pleistocene, about 1.9/1.4 million years ago, the Eye was dear to thriving communities of Homo ergaster, true pioneers of human culture, discoverers of fire and maker of symmetric tools – whose artifacts are plentiful within the dome area – probably a sacred site since the dawn of humankind.

Despite being so ancient, the Eye was first photographed from space, in the 1960s, by the Gemini astronauts.

Geologists believe that its formation began when the supercontinent Pangaea started to pull apart.

They initially thought that the Eye of the Sahara was an impact crater, created when an object from space slammed into the surface.

However, lengthy studies of the rocks inside the structure show that its origins are entirely Earth-based. The eye it’s what they call a geological dome.

Millions of years ago, volcanic activity from deep beneath Earth’s surface lifted the entire landscape around the Eye. The dome slowly collapsed during the next eras, forming what we see today.

Some people believe that the Eye of the Sahara is actually the remains of the city of Atlantis, which Plato described as concentric rings of water and land.

M. K. Ettington

The Real Atlantis-In the Eye of the Sahara

5. The Cuban Atlantis

Cuban Atlantis Geological oddity

In 2001 Pauline Zalitzki, a marine engineer, and her husband Paul Weinzweig, were working with Fidel Castro’s government to explore Cuban waters, which hold hundreds of treasure-laden ships from the Spanish colonial era.

The team was using advanced sonar equipment to scan a 2 square kilometer area of the seafloor off the tip of the Guanahacabibes Peninsula in the Pinar del Río Province

Here they noticed a series of symmetrical and geometric stone structures resembling an urban complex about 600-750 m (2000-2500 feet), much deeper than any known underwater ruin.

The team returned to the site a second time with an underwater remotely operated vehicle that filmed sonar images interpreted as various pyramids

The discovery immediately sparked speculation about Atlantis, the fabled lost city first described by Plato in 360 B.C.

Related:

The Lost Continent of Mu

Some of the claims repeated on the web included the identification of a sphinx, a structure resembling Stonehenge, and a monument identical to the “Face on Mars”.

Cuban marine geologist Manuel Iturralde called for more samples before drawing conclusions about the site, saying the results so far were very unusual.

He estimated that it would have taken 50,000 years for such structures to have sunken to the depth at which they were said to be found and stated that none of the known cultures living that long ago had the ability to build such structures.

We are talking about the Pleistocene Ice Age.

A specialist in underwater archaeology at Florida State University added: “It would be cool if they were right, but it would be real advanced for anything we would see in the New World for that time frame. The structures are out of time and out of place.

A new expedition was planned for 2005 but never happened. Zalitzki and Weinzweig and every one else involved apparently gave up on such an interesting expedition.

Even if this is not Atlantis or any man-made structure it is then a very unique geological feature worth a closer look, don’t you think?

See our Facebook post about this topic

Some good books about Atlantis are:

Atlantis Illustrated – H.R. Stahel

Magicians of the Gods: The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth’s Lost Civilisation – the Sequel to Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock

6. Kelimutu Craters, Indonesia

Kelimutu explanation
Pic by Cycloscope

The Kelimutu is a dormant volcano, whose craters are filled with water.

The peculiar thing is that these lakes, despite being very close to each other, have very different colors. Moreover, they also change color during the day, from black to red to green and blue.

According to geological studies, the colors change is due to adjustments in the oxidation-reduction status of the fluid of each lake.

The colors in the lakes change independently from each other, as each has its own unique connectivity to the underlying volcano’s activity.

According to local beliefs, the lakes are where the souls of the dead go.

The souls of the wicked end up in the Tiwu Ata Polo, the lake that is most often dark in color, the souls of young people go to Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai, usually blue-green.

While those of the elders end up in the Tiwu Ata Mbupu, separated from the other two, usually of deep blue color.

It’s said that the change of color occurs when a new soul reaches the lake. Every year a ceremony and a pilgrimage are organized from the surrounding villages to lakes.

7. Crowley Lake, USA

Crowley lake mystery
Image from Reddit

Crowley Lake is the result of Long Valley Dam in Central-Eastern California.

Since its creation in 1941, it was pretty popular for trout fishing, but after a few years, some strange stuff happened on its eastern shore.

The powerful waves of the lake eroded the soft material that trapped hundreds of column-shaped structures for centuries, bringing them to light again.

Further research showed that the structure was much bigger than expected, with the columns being, in fact, thousands and as tall as 7 meters.

Geologists claim the columns are only around 700,000 years old, so many people think they are manmade, for the following reasons:

  1. The spacing between columns is even, with a precision that is rarely found in similar natural formations.
  2. The columns seem made of blocks stacked up one on another
  3. There seems to be an erosion-resistant material binding the blocks together
  4. No such geological formation exists elsewhere in the world

The most recent research, instead, determined that the columns are the result of cold water dropping down and steam rising up from hot volcanic ashes 760,000 years ago.

What is your opinion on this Earth Wonder?

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