You don’t have to visit outer space to see truly alien-like landscapes. There are plenty of otherworldly destinations right here on Earth.
Click start to play today’s Spell It, where we take the ‘leap’ to our planet’s most bizarre and fantastic locations.
Here are some to note:
1. Fly Geyser, US
In Nevada, US, lies a manmade geothermal geyser that was created by accident. In 1964, a geothermal power company drilled a test well at the site, but because it was left uncapped or improperly plugged, scalding hot water shot up from the well hole and calcium carbonate deposits began to form all around it. As time passed, the deposits grew into three large mounds, rising six feet high in a field of tall reeds and grass. The sediments are multi-coloured and the geyser’s trio of cones still spew hot water about five feet into the air.
2. Rainbow Mountain, Peru
Originally known as Vinicunca, Peru’s Rainbow Mountain is located in the Andes, at a staggering 5,200m above sea level. Its iconic rainbow-like appearance is because of the sediment of minerals throughout the area, which give the mountain hues of turquoise, lavender, gold and other colours. The mountain was only recently discovered, and is becoming a top tourist destination for the country – it was previously hidden by snow. Temperatures still drop below zero degrees in the night time.
3. Grand Prismatic Spring, US
A well-known sight, Yellowstone National Park’s largest hot spring measures 200 to 300 feet in diameter and over 121 feet in depth. Its most striking feature is its rainbow pattern, which scientists say is created by thermophilic algae and bacteria. It’s illegal to swim or wade in the Grand Prismatic Spring for obvious reasons – the water is extremely hot and reaches up to 71 degrees Celsius. Tourists have been severely burned or have died in accidents involving Yellowstone’s hot springs.
4. Lake Hillier, Australia
Located on Middle Island, right next to the Pacific Ocean, is a lake that’s a striking pink in colour. Although the reason behind its colour is still not fully understood by scientists, most suspect it has to do with the presence of Dunaliella salina microalgae, which produce a pigment that’s found in carrots, as well. Swimming in the lake is allowed, since the algae is harmless, but it is difficult for tourists to get to the lake as it is not open to visitors. Unlike other pink lakes around the world, the water from Lake Hillier is still its distinctive pink shade when poured into a glass.
5. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Visit Salar de Uyuni and you’ll see vast, glistening white salt flats, stretching 10,582km across the Altiplano or the Andean Plateau. These white plains are so compelling, they can even be seen from space. Layers of salt sandwiched between sedimentary deposits go as deep as 10m into the ground, in Salar de Uyuni. Although it holds an estimated 10 billion tonnes of salt, the real fortune, for locals, lies beneath the salt flat, where approximately 70 per cent of the world’s lithium reserves can be found. The country extracts this light metal, which is then used to power laptops, smartphones and electric cars around the world.