Hoodoos: The Beautiful Fairy Chimneys That Appear To Be From Another Planet


Hoodoos near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Image credit: Albuquerque Outdoors Magazine

Hoodoos. Fairy chimneys. Earth pyramids. Tent rocks. They have many different names, but these strange badland rock formations are one and the same, and they can be found in various iterations across the planet.

They typically consist of relatively soft rock topped by harder, less easily eroded stone that protects each column from the elements. They generally form within sedimentary rock and volcanic rock formations.

Sentinel-like hoodoos in Goblin Valley State Park, Utah, USA. Image credit: IrinaK/Shutterstock

Hoodoos are found mainly in the desert in dry, hot areas. They range in size from the height of an average human to heights exceeding a 10-story building. Hoodoo shapes are affected by the erosional patterns of alternating hard and softer rock layers. Minerals deposited within different rock types cause hoodoos to have different colors throughout their height, giving them an even more magical look.

By the way, according to Merriam-Webster the word “hoodoo” also stands for “a body of practices of sympathetic magic traditional especially among African Americans in the southern U.S.” Well, we can see the connection between the two meanings…

Hoodoos at Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah wilderness area in northwestern New Mexico. Image credit: John Fowler
King of Wings rock formation, New Mexico. Image credit: AndrMoel
Fairy chimneys with foggy weather in Cappadocia, Turkey. Image source: Flypgs
Typical terrain at Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah. Image credit: Syabek
Coffee table arch at Goblin Valley State Park, Utah, USA. Image credit: Brian W. Schaller
Earth pyramids of Ritten, South Tyrol, Italy. They are touted as the tallest group of hoodoos in Europe. Image credit: haraldmuc/Shutterstock
Hoodoos in Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah wilderness area in New Mexico. Image credit: Syabek
Strikingly strange rock formations, New Mexico. Image credit: Syabek
Rock formations as seen from a distance, Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah, New Mexico. Image credit: Syabek
Cappadocia, Göreme, Turkey. These hoodoos look like giant mushrooms. Shchipkova Elena/Shutterstock
Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. Image credit: Luca Galuzzi
Demoiselles Coiffées, Pontis, France. The name translates as “ladies with hairdos”. Image credit: Hect/Shutterstock
Tent rocks (peribacası) near Çavuşin, Cappadocia. Image credit: Graeme Churchard
A naturally fallen hoodoo (not a vandalized one), Goblin Valley State Park, Utah, USA. Image credit: Brian W. Schaller
Drumheller Hoodoos, Alberta, Canada. Image credit: Jeremy Klager/Shutterstock
Nearing sunset at Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah badlands, New Mexico. Image credit: Syabek

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