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13 natural rock formations that look man-made

By: Angela Nelson on July 19, 2016, 12:40 p.m.
Queen's Head in Wanli, Yehliu Promontory, in northern Taiwan.

Photo: Alton Thompson/Wikimedia Commons

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Queen's Head

Queen's Head in northern Yehliu, Taiwan, is part of a group of mushroom rocks, which have globe-shaped rocks on the top supported by thin pillars on the bottom. Queen's Head is the most famous of the mushroom rocks, attracting 3 million visitors a year, according to the AFP news agency.

Mushroom rocks inherit their shape thanks to a few different environmental factors. First, notice that the rock has more texture on top than on the bottom. This is because of sand erosion, according to the University of Wisconsin. Wind-blown sand helped carve the mushroom rock, but wind can only lift sand a few feet in the air, so the upper portion of the rock is more textured since it hasn't been as shaped by this force. Second, the top of the rock may contain more calcium than lower portions, making it more durable against erosion.

That said, this queen is in danger: The 4,000-year-old sandstone structure is eroding quickly and may soon disappear. Her head is getting too heavy as her neck shrinks by about 1.5 centimeters a year, scientists say, and the 26-foot-tall rock may only have about 10 years left.