Deserts can be found across the world, but it's safe to say that these landscapes are extremely unfamiliar and unusual. Each sand dune looks like the next, cacti can pop up out of nowhere, and the harsh environments make it almost totally uninhabitable. But while many of us might think that we know a little bit about these desert landscapes, it seems as though we don't know it all. In fact, we still don't really know what these bizarre desert discoveries are, or what they mean.
The Lone Desert Rose
Everyone has seen a rose before, right? But when one desert explorer spotted this rose in the middle of the desert in Yemen, they couldn't quite believe their eyes. While we're used to seeing roses in lush gardens across the globe, there's something so haunting about seeing this singular plant in the middle of nowhere. Hopefully, it stands there like beacon of hope to all who pass this plant on their journeys.
But how does it grow in such harsh environments? It's amazing to think that something this bright and beautiful can exist amongst all of the beige sand and craggy rocks.
The Most Beautiful Glass
It's not uncommon to spot rocks and pieces of glass as you wander around the desert, but next time you head to this barren landscape, keep your eyes peeled for Libyan desert glass. Found primarily in the Saharan, Libyan, and Egyptian deserts, this glass is unlike anything else you'll find on this Earth. In fact, it's so unusual that very little is known about where this glass came from or how it was exactly formed.
What we do know about this particular desert glass is that it requires temperatures higher than 1,600 °C to form, which is hotter than any other rock found on this planet.
Caves and deserts may seem lost and forgotten, but they're a great way for us to uncover secrets of the past. This was certainly the case when these engravings were found in the middle of the Sahara desert. Unfortunately, the discovery of these giraffe engravings also led to even more questions. Experts could tell that they were over 10,000 years old, but that's where the revelations came to an upbrupt end.
Not much else is known about these engravings, who engraved them, or why they were engraved at such a time. It does suggest the existence of giraffes 10,000 years ago, though.
Swirlings Rocks in Nevada
Although humans like to think that we know everything there is to know about the natural world, the truth is that we've barely scratched the surface. We're uncovering new discoveries every single day, with many of them being uncovered in the desert. Don't believe us? Just look at these swirling patterns found in rock formations in the Nevada Desert. They're so beautiful and captivating, but they just don't make sense.
We can only assume that this swirling pattern is made up of different layers of rock and sediment, but the colors and the shapes still don't make sense to us.
Some Rare Super Blooms
When you think of desert landscapes, you probably think of dry and arid landscapes devoid of any natural wonders. But what makes these areas so confusing is that you'll often stumble upon rare bursts of color - like with these rare super blooms in Joshua Tree. A hiker found these while walking through the desert, and couldn't quite believe their eyes when this burst of red shot up out of the rocks.
As you can see, the blooms are coming from the cacti plants themselves. But why? What is the purpose of that? And why do they bloom occasionally, but not all the time?
A Watermelon in the Sahara
You probably don't need us to tell you that watermelons rely on water to grow. So, imagine this person's surprise when they were wandering through the Sahara desert and stumbled upon a wild watermelon plant! Not only were the leaves green and luscious, but the watermelons that were growing were big and juicy. Of course, they were confused, and couldn't understand how such a thing could grow in such dry conditions.
Apparently, watermelons are able to grow in the desert - but you probably wouldn't want to eat one. Their innards are apparently very hard and bitter, unlike the soft and hydrating watermelons we're used to.
A Walking Tree in the Desert
it's not unusual to find trees in the desert. These are normally extremely hardy trees that are able to withstand months without a single drop of water. But there are two things that made this tree stand out to those who stumbled upon it. The first was that this tree was able to survive in the Sonoran Desert, which just so happens to be the hottest desert in both Mexico and the United States. The second was that it looks like it's walking!
Yes, this tree looks like a petrified man who was running away from something terrible when he was forced to stay in the same position for all eternity. And that's pretty creepy.
The Troll Amongst the Rocks
So many people choose to go hiking in the desert. After all, these desert landscapes are often full of impressive rock faces you can climb up, and dunes that you can slide down. But when these people were rambling through the desert of California, they stumbled upon something they couldn't take their eyes off. And while they knew this was just a bunch of rocks, they couldn't help but think it was a troll.
From the slit in the rocks that look like a mouth to the nose-like piece that juts out of the side, everything about this rock looks like it was meant to be there.
A Whole Fossil Found in the Desert
Whale fossils aren't unusual, and archaeologists have uncovered many of them over the years. But what is unusual is finding a whale fossil in the middle of the Sahara Desert. After all, this desert is miles and miles away from any form of ocean. So, how did the fossil end up somewhere so dry and arid? These are the sorts of things that make us question the desert even more.
Evidence suggests that this whale fossil is over one million years old, which suggests that a million years ago the Sahara Desert wasn't a desert at all. Instead, it was covered in water.
Wonderstone From Utah
If you first thought of bacon as soon as you saw this picture, there's a high chance that you're hungry. But there's no doubt that this Wonderstone does indeed look like slices of bacon. Its colorful marble appearance is out of this world, and extraordinary to look at. But what you might not realize about Wonderstone is that this natural rock can only really be found in the deserts of Utah and the surrounding areas.
What's more, this rock is also incredibly fragile - which is why it's rarely used in the modern world. In fact, its most commonly used as a tool for meditation and relaxation.
A Desert Oasis in Peru
Many people who have been lost in the desert have claimed to see an oasis in the distance, but what you might not realize is that one of these places actually exists. Located in the desert of Peru, the village of Huacachina was actually built around the small body of water and is now home to around 100 permanent residents. However, it's safe to say that it's become incredibly popular over the yers, and sees thousands of tourists descend upon the dunes every year.
What's so amazing about this desert oasis is that people have built lives for themselves - even though they're quite literally in the middle of nowhere. And that's truly special.
The Yareta Plant in Chile
At first glance, this looks like some kind of modern art installation in the middle of the desert. But what if we told you that this was actually a plant? In fact, it's the Yareta plant, which looks just like a bulbous velvet cushion. You can find this in many countries in South America, but it much prefers dry and arid landscapes as it can very easily conserve its own water.
This picture was taken in the desert in Chile, and you can see how many of these plants are able to thrive in such a dry area of the world.
The Desert Shrine
Deserts can be incredibly creepy - especially when something unusual pops out of nowhere. And while there's something so wholesome about a shrine to people's beloved pets who have passed away, the existence of this shrine in the middle of the desert is certainly quite strange. This shrine appeared overnight and was placed randomly in a desert wash. Since then, more and more people have used it to honor their lost dogs.
We hope these dogs can now rest in peace, and we really hope that they're now all playing fetch together up in heaven. After all, these loving dogs deserve the world.
Ships in the Desert
Desert discoveries come in all shapes and forms, but most people wouldn't expect to see a boat in the middle of the desert. However, that's exactly what one desert explorer saw when they made their way across The Aral Sea in Kazakhstan. And while today it's one of the driest places on earth, there was a time when this place was completely covered in water and ships just like these.
That was until the water in the lake was diverted for irrigation. Now, what was once a huge lake has become a desert filled with ghost ships that look totally out of context.
A Wet Road in the Desert
If you've ever ventured into the desert, you'll know that these landscapes are more complex than they seem. You see something new at every turn, and the ground is different everywhere you go. So, imagine this person's surprise when they drove along this dry desert road and came across this wet section. It seemed to come out of nowhere, and the water stopped almost as soon as it started. It was bizarre.
Despite what many people think, flash floods are fairly common in certain parts of the desert, and we can only assume that's what happened here. That would have dried up in no time, though.
The Final Casette Tape
People come and go in the desert. While some people try to make a life for themselves in these dry landscapes, many soon realize that it's not the kind of lifestyle they can maintain. So, they up and leave - leaving behind some of their belongings in the process. Perhaps that's how this person stumbled upon Europe's "The Final Countdown" cassette tape in the middle of the desert? We don't know how else it would get there.
Whatever the case, there's no doubt about the fact that this tape would have been there for a while. It's been many years since people used cassette tapes - especially in the desert.
Iron Filings in the Sand
The Mohave Desert is one of the most famous deserts in the United States, but what you might not realize is that this desert is not only rich in flora and fauna, but it's also rich in silver, tungsten, iron and gold deposits. This desert explorer found this out for themselves when they took a large magnet out with them on their travels. And as they moved the magnet around the sand, they were blessed with an impressive haul.
Just look at all of those iron filings! They look like sea urchins that have set up shop on the magnet, but more than anything we can't believe that such intense deposits can be found in such a sparse location.
Prada in the Desert
If you're fond of the finer things in life, you might be familiar with Prada stores. These can normally be found in large cities and affluent areas of the world - which is why it might surprise you to learn that there's also a Prada store in the middle of the desert. Prada Marfa can be found in the West Texas desert, but you won't be able to buy any shoes or sunglasses here.
The store isn't a store at all, but rather a permanent art installation that was designed to showcase the temporary luxuries that many of us strive towards. Over the years, it's gradually deteriorated and been vandalized.
An Intriguing Skull
Many desert explorers head out into the wilderness with the intention of finding trinkets and treasures that they can take home with them. And it's fair to say that this person got more than they bargained for when they came across this tiny skull. Of course, it's not uncommon for desert discoveries to include skulls of all shapes and sizes, but this one is particularly bizarre and intriguing. It even looks spiky!
If we were to hazard a guess, we'd say that this was the skull of some kind of lizard. But there are still many question marks surrounding this strange skull.
An Abandoned Movie Set
Over the years, countless movies have been filmed in deserts across the world. But what you might not realize is that much of the famous Star Wars franchise was filmed in the Tunisian desert. But instead of using fake props or CGI, George Lucas and his team built hefty structures to bring these alien landscapes to life. And when filming came to an end, they decided to leave these things behind for them to become one with the desert.
Now, many desert explorers go in search of this abandoned movie set and try to find the familiar structures they're used to seeing on the big screen. After all, there was so much left behind!
A Hotdog Stand in the Desert
Hiking through the desert is tough work, and it's fair to say that the desert explorers who take on this challenge need to keep their food and their fluid intake up. But while you don't often find fast food joints in the middle of the desert, it seems as though there is a hotdog stand available to those who don't mind some dusty old sausages. However, nobody knows why this hotdog stand is there, or how long it's been there.
From the hotdog cart to the giant wiener sticking out from the sand, everything about this hotdog stand is strange. But we bet it's a welcome sign of civilization for those who get lost.
Abandoned Train Tracks
Did you know that the world is full of abandoned train tracks? This is especially true in the United States, as many of these tracks were used to transport gold and other discoveries during the gold rush. But as technology has advanced and business has changed, these train tracks have been left to the elements to rot and rust. One desert explorer stumbled upon some after an 11-mile hike in the California desert, and they were amazed by what they saw.
There was more to this abandoned location than the tracks and the bridges, tough. Upon further investigation, they also spotted so many abandoned tunnels that were just waiting to be explored.
An Abandoned Train
We've already seen abandoned train tracks, but if you head from California to the Arabian Desert, you'll see some trains to go with them. Yes, what's so amazing about this abandoned train is the fact that, while it may look relatively clean and new, this train is over a century old. It was left there over 100 years ago when it was ambushed by Lawrence of Arabia and his rebels, and it's sat there ever since.
Today, it serves as a reminder of what happened all those years ago. And some desert explorers head out into the dunes purely to see it with their own eyes.
The Door to Nowhere
Today, most people prefer to live in big cities that offer impressive infrastructure and work opportunities. But life hasn't always been that way. Since the dawn of time, many people have called the desert their home - and so that's where we assume this doorway to nowhere has come from. One desert explorer stumbled upon this strange door while they were hiking in the high desert, but they didn't know what to make of it.
Did they go in and explore? Or did they leave the doorway and continue with their hike? We hope for their own sakes that they left the doorway alone and continued with their day.
The Deadliest Walk of Them All
The U.S. and Mexico are separated by the Sonoran Desert, which is considered to be one of the deadliest deserts on earth. The huge size, coupled with the soaring temperatures makes it almost impossible to cross, but that doesn't stop people from attempting the 3-5 day hike. Of course, the U.S. government want to avoid people dying as much as possible, which is why those attempting the hike will be greeted with this sign and button before they start.
We can't help but wonder how many times that button has been pressed, and how many times people debated pressing that button before embarking on the hike that would ultimately take their lives.
A Salt Mine Trench
When you think of the desert, you probably think of dry landscapes without any sign of water for miles. But it turns out that many deserts across the world are full of salt - which has been an enticing prospect for humans over the years. The Mojave desert is full of some of the biggest salt flats in the world, and this has changed the landscape. In fact, you'll spot many salt mine trenches dug out here.
They have resulted in water-filled areas just like this. This whole picture looks incredibly strange, from the green color to the craggy sides of the trench. But, apparently, this is fairly common in the desert.
Al Capone's Old Hideout
Many desert explorers hop into their vans and drive around until they spot something interesting. And it's fair to say that this person found the coolest desert discovery of them all. That's because he stumbled upon the infamous mobster Al Capone's old hideout in the middle of the desert - a place that was the base for countless criminal activities over the years. Not only that, but he got to skate in his old pool!
We bet it's pretty cool to stumble upon a slice of history like that, even though some terrible things may have occurred at this desert location. Nevertheless, very few people can say they've been here!
A House Reclaimed by the Desert
The desert is one of the most powerful natural landscapes in the world. The weather patterns here aren't designed for humans, which means that nature will always win. Don't believe us? Just look at this house! Although humans tried to make this place their home with their modern technologies and cable television, the desert wouldn't allow it. And as soon as a sand storm came along, the desert reclaimed the house for its own.
You can now see a slither of the roof that remains, which means that a whole house has been buried underneath all of that sand. There's just no way humans can survive such harsh environments.
A Mysterious Obelisk in the Desert
The desert is a very mysterious place, and we still know very little about it. Of course, we know that intense weather patterns and erosion cause cliffs and rocks to form weird and wonderful shapes, but how do you explain things like this? This is an obelisk that was found in the Utah desert, but where did it come from? And how did it come to be such a shape?
It looks extremely menacing, especially as it seems to be the only tall structure in what looks like a deep valley. Plus, the dark skies on the horizon make it look even more ominous.
Strange Desert Discoveries
If you're a desert explorer, there's a high chance that you love to head into the desert and see what you stumble across. But what would you do if you came across these strange desert discoveries? While the carved wooden bear isn't too strange, we can't understand why there would be a red London double-decker bus and phone box in the middle of the desert in the United States. How did it get there?
This looks like some strange Dr. Who episode and this weird collection of discoveries is a bizarre addition to the dry and dragged landscape. So, we bet the person who found them was confused.
Frogs in the Mojave Desert
Every so often, something comes along that leaves us stumped. And this frog collection in the Mojave Desert is one of those things. At the time of writing, there's now explanation for why this large collection of frogs exists. However, it's been suggested that someone came along and started a frog shrine, and since then, it's simply grown and grown. In fact, some people travel here with the sole intention of adding a new frog.
While there's no doubt that it's an impressive collection of frogs, desert explorers unaware of this frog collection will no doubt be confused when they stumble upon this desert discovery.
Mud Cracks in the Mojave
The Mojave Desert is considered to be one of the hottest and driest places on earth, which is why desert explorers have to be so careful when they travel through this area. It's extremely easy to find yourself in trouble in this desert, not just because of the high temperatures. The dry landscape can also be extremely uneven underfoot, as seen by this picture of some giant mud cracks in the middle of the Mojave.
One wrong move and you could break your ankle in one of these cracks, which is not something you want to do when you're miles away from civilization and without any cell service. So, keep one eye on the ground at all times.
The End of the World Cinema
Most people love to go to the movies, but have you ever seen a movie theater quite like this one before? We bet the desert explorer who stumbled across this movie theater was confused when they spotted it, as it's decked out with hundreds of seats - but there wasn't a single other person nearby. So, what was it built for? Well, it looks as though this movie theater in the Egyptian desert was built for a reason.
We're not sure what that reason is, but maybe this is the movie theater we all head to when the end of the world is nigh. If we're going to go down, we're going to go down watching a comedy!
A Staircase in the Desert
Las Vegas is one of the most impressive places in the world. From the sky-high buildings to the bright lights and the fancy casinos, it's a city like no other. But just outside of Sin City, you'll find yourself in the middle of nowhere, as the Nevada desert is a barren landscape with nothing to see for miles. But you can imagine this person's surprise when they stumbled across this staircase in the desert.
It's not known how this staircase got there or what it's doing there, but there's no doubt about the fact that it's fairly creepy. It looks like the gateway to another universe, and that's pretty scary!
A Twisted Desert Sunflower
While some people could think of nothing worse than living in the desert, there are some people who do everything they can to make this quiet and peaceful place their home. In fact, some people even create desert gardens to turn the dry landscape into something truly special. That's exactly what these people, and they wanted to attempt to grow desert sunflowers in their desert garden. At first glance, it looks as though they've succeeded.
This twisted sunflower is a little unusual, though. Not only is it much smaller than the average sunflower, but the twisted leaves also look as though they're not growing properly. But that's what you get in the desert.
A Ghostly Figure
If you were wandering through the desert and bumped into this ghostly figure, what would you do? Run away in the opposite direction? Attempt to uncover the truth about this strange being? Well, you might be happy to know that this isn't a real ghost. This picture was taken in a ghost town, though. The town of Rhyolite can be found in the Nevada desert, and it was once a thriving community of workers during the gold rush.
At one point, over 3,000 workers lived there. Today, it's completely abandoned, apart from the workers who travel there every day to set it up as a tourist attraction - complete with these ghostly figures.
The Miner's Graveyard
Today, mining is nowhere near as dangerous as it once was. Back in the day, whole towns were created in the desert, with many workers leaving their homes and setting up shop to take on this dangerous task. This was the case in the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile. Thousands of workers traveled to this place - which is considered one of the driest places on earth - to work in the mines.
However, the graveyard for this place is bigger than the town itself. The high heat and the dangerous work meant that these workers signed up for their deaths - and the graveyard now serves as a reminder of their sacrifice.
Chinese Lions in the Desert
You probably don't need us to tell you that the United States is a mish-mash of cultures. But when you head into the desert, you're largely greeted by Native Americans who have called this place their home for centuries on end. So, you can imagine the surprise of desert explorers who spotted these Chinese lion statues on the side of the road in the Mojave desert. How did they get there? And what are they doing there?
Apparently, there are two of these marble lion statues just off Route 66. But to this day nobody knows who is behind them or why they were put there in the first place.
Ancient Rock Art in Israel
Israel is a historical playground, full to the brim of ancient hints of the past. And while it's not uncommon to spot rock carvings away from the big cities, we have a feeling that this desert explorer was still excited to come across something they had never seen before. This ancient rock art seems to depict a hunter tracking down an ibex, and what's so amazing about this artwork is that nobody knows how old it is.
This artwork could be thousands of years old, which just goes to show that the desert is full of treasures if you're willing to go out and look for them.
A Hematite Found in the Desert
The desert may seem like a deserted landscape, but there's so much that you can see in the desert if you look hard enough. That's because these places are home to countless mineral deposits and unusual rocks - including this creepy-looking object that one desert explorer found in Egypt. At first glance, they wondered whether they had stumbled upon a meteorite that had fallen from the sky and into the sand below.
Upon inspection, though, they realized that this was a hematite crystal. Hematite is made largely of iron, and while it looks black, it can also look red - which is why it's often called the blood stone.