geological oddities

The Badlands Guardian.

The face emerges from the landscape when seen from the air.

Located in southeastern Alberta, Canada, near Medicine Hat, this great geological wonder can be enjoyed from above the ground.

However, its humanoid details are stunning when one considers that human hands took part in shaping this large mass of rock. The profile was formed by the erosion of rainwater on layers of clay-rich soil.

Viewed from the air, the feature bears a strong resemblance to a human head wearing full First Nations headdress.Formerly in that area was settled the native tribe of the black feet. In a humorous (or tragic) turn, the additional man-made structures make it appear to be wearing earbuds, like an enormous iPod commercial.

The headphone’s wires are formed by a road, and the earpiece is formed by an oil well where the road ends. The Badlands Guardian is only one of many geological and landscape oddities that have recently been discovered using Google Earth images.

The three lakes of Kelimutu, in addition to sounding like the title of a fantasy novel, are a geological oddity found snuggled up against the base of a dormant volcano in Indonesia. They’ve become a popular tourist attraction, but not for swimming, unless you’re looking to re-create the most accidentally hilarious sequence from Dante’s Peak – the acid-saline pools are too caustic for taking a dip. No, these lakes are famous for their ability to change color like three giant bowls of melted chameleons.

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Hvitserkur, which translates to “white shirt” and derives its name from being covered in Shag and Cormorant guano, rises 15 metres, or nearly 50 feet from the sea. It was once the plug of a volcano, but over the years the craters surrounding the rock plug gave way to the pounding Atlantic Ocean leaving only the unusual outcropping Hvítserkur behind. Curiously, Hvítserkur itself would have given way to the ocean as well, had its foundations not been shored up with concrete some years ago. Icelandic legend has it that the rock was a troll who forgot to retreat from the light and was turned to stone in the sunrise, though from some angles it is said to look like a dragon drinking from the water. The geological oddity was commemorated on an Icelandic stamp in 1990.