Göreme, Cappadocia, Turkey  

Göreme, Cappadocia, Turkey

Both natural wonders and historic landmarks, the "fairy chimneys" of Göreme may suggest the fantastical dwellings of an alien species, or an illustration from a Dr. Seuss book. These and similar rock formations are known by many names—hoodoos, tent rocks, earth pyramids, as well as fairy chimneys—and are typically found in dry, hot areas. Here in Cappadocia, in south-central Turkey, they were formed when a thick layer of volcanic ash solidified over millions of years into soft, porous rock called tuff that was overlaid by hard basalt. Cracks in the basalt allowed wind and rain to gradually wash away the softer bottom layer, leaving the hard basalt to cap tall columns of the tuff. The result is these unusual, often beautiful—and perhaps puzzling—formations that spread across the Anatolian plain.

© Anton Petrus/Getty Images

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