One thing we've discovered over and over again is that nature is always weirder than what we give it credit for. That's why, for instance, some of the most staggering naturally occurring landscapes on Earth don't look like they belong on Earth at all. They look like they were created in a lab, or beamed down to our world from a distant fold in the universe.
Tell us you wouldn't think you'd been kidnapped by aliens if one day you woke up to see ...
11 The 3N Cave
That soon-to-be-eaten-by-a-monster explorer up there has obviously stumbled upon the undead carcass of an alien supercreature, one that crash landed in a cave on our planet millions of years ago. It's now slowly crawling its way through the heavy rock walls of its own tomb to wreak horrible vengeance upon the race that unwittingly oversaw its imprisonment.
This must be the teenage alien boy's room.
Actually, those are just salt crystals growing in 3N Cave in Iran. 3N is the world's largest salt cave, extending over 7,000 yards. The salt is found in the rock layers above the cave; during heavy rainfall, water penetrates the rock and takes the salt with it, slowly dragging it down into those terrifying white subterranean tentacles. Unlike limestone stalactites, which take millenniums to form, the salt deposits grow fast -- often reaching lengths of a foot and a half in just one month.
Kingdom of the Crystal Spinal Column just doesn't have the same ring to it.
This picture appears to be the landscape of some arctic planet dotted with the half-exhumed penises of dead frost giants. The tips are all bowed slightly, as if in reverence to the ancient galactic snow fairy that came along and sheathed them all in enormous gym socks to save weary travelers from having awkward conversations with their children. They are known by local tribes as the Frozen Yogurt Cannons, the Throbcicles and the Twinkling Ice Shafts of Frostbitten Erotica. OK, not really.
In actuality, this photograph was taken in Finnish Lapland, the country's northernmost region, and all it is showing us is a bunch of trees. Lapland is known for ferocious, driving snow and temperatures well below freezing, which routinely leaves the region's trees encased in shells of frost, like pornographic snow worms or gigantic anorexic snowmen. Just for comparison's sake, here is a picture of Lapland after the snow melts, revealing the trees beneath:
So if you live in Lapland, it's either alien wangs or sky farts, all year round.