This Alien Earth

Where on Earth would you go for the most alien environment? I've been waiting too long for a tour of the most bizarre places in the universe, like the one narrated by the Overlord Rashaverak in Clarke's Childhood's End:

Space - no planet, no surrounding landscape, no world underfoot. Only the stars in the velvet night, and hanging against them a great sun that was beating like a heart... It would climb the spectrum and hover at the edge of yellow and then the cycle would reverse itself...
("Typical pulsating variable," said Rashaverak eagerly. "Seen, too, under tremendous time-acceleration...")

It might have been Earth. A white sun hung in a blue sky flecked with clouds, which were racing before a storm... And far, far away on the horizon was something that was not of Earth - a line of misty columns, tapering slightly as they soared out of the sea and lost themselves among the cloudsl. They were spaced with perfect precision along the rim of the planet - too huge to be artificial, yet too regular to be natural.
("Sidenus 4 and the Pillars of the Dawn," said Rashaverak, and there was awe in his voice...)

So, how about a trip to Socotra Island? Geographically isolated from mainland Africa for at least 6 million years, it has hundreds of rare species seen no where else on Earth, not to mention having extreme geological features.

Consider the strange dracena cinnibaris or Dragon's Blood Tree, used as a source of rare resin.


(Dracena cinnibaris or Dragon's Blood Tree,)

Consider the Desert Rose (adenium obesium), as strange a plant as you'll see.


(Desert Rose (adenium obesium))

What's your idea of an alien location? And thanks to Dark Roasted Blend for a great article idea.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/7/2008)

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