The Weirdest Places On Earth

Other than your basement, I mean.

What? Come on, it was a joke, dude. Just a joke.

Okay, fine. I take it back.

What I’m not taking back, though, is that the Sierra Club has gone and collected up some of the most astonishing, strangest, oddest, weirdest places on Earth. And then went and took pictures of them.

Most of these places I’ve never even heard of. Now I’m afraid my life won’t be complete without going to see some of these and wandering around for a while.

Seriously, how could you not see a picture of this and not want to go there?slide1

Answer: You couldn’t not. Er. Um, what I mean to say is that of course you want to go.

That’s Fly Geyser, which sits about 10 miles away from the site of the annual Burning Man festival. Burning Man is a countercultural arts festival heldĀ in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. The Fly Geyser was accidentally formed in 1916 when folks were drilling for water. They found it. Scalding hot water about 200 degrees F. They plugged the hole and tried to forget about it. Until someone tried to drill again and again found scalding water.This time, the water wouldn’t be blocked. It started coming to the surface, bringing along with it lots of minerals, which started accreting.

This one, though, is less manmade and more just man-nificent. Sorry about that pun. Couldn’t help myself. Anyway, slide2this is Blood Falls, which is in Antarctica. As you might have guessed, the deal here is that there’s a trickle of highly iron-rich water headed down Taylor Glacier into West Bonney Lake. On exposure to the oxygen in our atmosphere, the iron gets oxidized (rusted) and turns red.

See what I mean?

This stuff is just plain awesome. I would love to head out to Blood Falls, if only to soak in the ambiance to make the story even better. Blood of giants, long dead, staining the very ground upon which they once trod. Yeah, that’s the good stuff.

And all I have to do to get there is head to Antarctica. No worries there, dudes. No worries.

Before I head out, I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t give you dudes a picture of this. It’s Mono Lake in California, but I like to think of it as the Drip Castle of the Gods.

It also has an interesting history, weird in and of itself.

At first glance, California’s Mono Lake seems eerily barren. Twisting limestone pinnacles, called tufa towers, line slide3its shores, some reaching heights of over 30 feet. Tufa towers grow only underwater, but Los Angeles’ diversion of Mono Lake’s tributary streams beginning in 1941 exposed the gnarled formations. Mono Lake, which is at least 760,000 years old, has no outlet to the ocean, causing salt to accumulate and create harsh alkaline conditions. Yet, oddly enough, Mono Lake hosts a flourishing ecosystem based on tiny brine shrimp, which feed the more than 2 million migratory birds that nest there each year.

In 2010, NASA astrobiologist Felisa Wolfe-Simon reported discovering bacteria in Mono Lake’s arsenic sediments that could incorporate the toxic element into their DNA instead of phosphorous, normally a key building block of the double helix. For the most part, the new species’ weirdness survived the scrutiny of two 2012 studies that debunked Wolfe-Simon’s findings. Their conclusion? Mono Lake’s “alien” bacteria do need phosphorous, but at surprisingly low amounts.

You dudes should pop on over to the Sierra Club’s site and check out the rest of the photos. Then get on the horn to your travel agent and start booking.

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