You could be forgiven for thinking that the otherworldly rock formations in these pictures come from another planet, or from a sci-fi movie perhaps. But they're actually called sand tufas and they come from right here on earth.


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A tufa is a peculiar form of calcium carbonate, and they're created when calcium-bearing freshwater springs well up through alkaline lake water (which is rich in carbonates). The carbonate and calcium combine and, over centuries, these elements form unusual spires, towering columns, and strange cauliflower-shaped mounds which can reach heights of up to nine metres (30ft). Tufas can only form underwater, and they're only exposed when lakes are drained or dry out over many years. Check out this collection of pictures compiled by Bored Panda to see these curious formations for yourself.

#1

Sand Tufas

James Bau Report

Cataclysmic Love 2 months ago

AWESOME

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#2

Sand Tufas

Willie Huang , Ted Gore Report

Jazlyn J. 2 months ago

I absolutely love the reflection, it just make it otherworldly.

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#3

Sand Tufas

Pacheco Report

Vasy Nechay 2 months ago

This looks like Mono Lake, in California. I made a trip there once, it was surreal to watch the sunset there! Different planet...

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#4

Sand Tufas

Patrick Marson Ong Report

Jazlyn J. 2 months ago

Wow! (moment to start in awe)

#5

Sand Tufas

Dan Barr Report

Jazlyn J. 2 months ago

The Stars!! The Stars!!

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#6

Sand Tufas

Brad Goldpaint Report

JillVille Child Care 2 months ago

That sky. Wow.

#7

Sand Tufas

Laurence Report

phattiusmax 2 months ago

Pfffttt...that's just a Star Wars set 😜

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#8

Sand Tufas

Evan Olson Report

Luke S. 2 months ago

Looks almost like an arch

#9

Sand Tufas

Krunk Brain Report

#10

Sand Tufas

Volkhard Sturzbecher Report