Balanced Rock—Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado
We know what you’re thinking: How is this possible? Well, this 700-ton red sandstone rock has been putting on this balancing act for two to three million years, but its history goes far beyond that. It started to form over 290 million years ago as Fountain Formation sandstone was deposited along the Ancestral Rockies (aka a different set of Rocky Mountains that once existed there). Thomas Grose, geology professor emeritus at the Colorado School of Mines, explains that Balanced Rock “was sculpted over the following millennia by glaciers, rivers, wind, and rain.” Since then, erosion has continued to occur, leaving visitors and geologists wondering when the beloved rock will eventually tumble.
Reed Flute Cave—Guilin, Guangxi, China
Reed Flute Cave, named after all of the reeds growing in the entryway, has quite the extensive history, notes Atlas Obscura. From its interior serving as a canvas for ink writings dating back to 792 AD to being a hideout for refugees during World War II, this cave has quite the story to tell. Perhaps the most astonishing qualities of Reed Flute Cave are its gorgeous rock formations stretching from the floor to the ceiling. Formed by centuries’ worth of water erosion carving into the soft limestone, the cave’s stalactites, stalagmites, and tall columns are now illuminated by a neon light show for all of its visitors to enjoy. If you like these rock formations, you won’t want to miss these stunning sea caves around the world.