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Eroded: Five astonishing natural rock formations

By Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter
Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 7:06 PM

Yesterday, we showed you six incredible landscapes shaped by volcanoes. Today, we're looking at how erosion has whittled and chipped away at the Earth, creating some truly incredible formations.

1. Yehliu Geopark - New Taipei, Taiwan

Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

This tourist attraction is home to the renowned "mushroom rocks" -- a series of formations that are the result of centuries of sea erosion.

The most famous of the 180 mushroom rocks is the "Queen's Head", which is estimated to be 4,000 years old.

RELATED: Can rocks restore the climate?

The "necks" of the mushrooms are more susceptible to erosion -- making them wear away faster than the tops, which are rich in calcium carbonite.

2. Arches National Park - Utah, U.S.A.

Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

The Arches National Park in Utah is home to more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches. Since the 1970s, 43 of them have collapsed under the weight of constant erosion.

Salt beds, dating back 300 million years, laid the groundwork for these incredible formations.

A mixture of shifting salt, rain, ice and wind pulling at the rocks for millions of years led to the eventual development of the arches.

3. Hayden rock (a.k.a. the wave rock) - Perth, Australia

Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

This spectacular formation in Perth, Australia consists of rocks that are more than 2.6 billion years old.

Geologists believe this three-domed granite formation began developing during the Cretaceous Period, between 100 and 130 million years ago.

RELATED: Take a video tour of Australia's National Otway Park

Over time, jointing fractures, the separation of Australia and Antarctica and periodic erosion eventually exposed once-buried bedrock domes, creating the Hayden Rock.

4. Flowerpot Island - Tobermory, Ontario, Canada

Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

Located in the Georgian Bay, Flowerpot Island has been touted as one of the country's most fascinating natural attractions.

Famous for its flowerpot-shaped sea stacks, along with caves and hiking trails, the area is only accessible by boat.

Currently, there are two "flowerpots" in the park. There was a third, but it crumbled over a century ago.

5. Bisti/De-Na-Zin wilderness - New Mexico, U.S.A.

Photo courtesy: Flickr/John Fowler

This 18,000 hectare wilderness space consists of eroded badlands. Bisti is from the Najavo word Bistahí, which means "among the adobe formations," while De-Na-Zin is the Navajo word for "cranes."

These incredible rock formations began about 70 million years ago, when the area was a prehistoric swamp.

As waters eventually receded and the last ice age thawed out about 6,000 years ago, glacier melt and erosion eventually exposed these fantastic rocks.

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