What is this? CGI? A vat of cocoa powder? A latte frappucino under an electron microscope? Nope. It’s a real place, located in western China. These are sand dunes, formed into brilliant and beautiful shapes by the merciless wind. But if you zoom in far enough on Google Earth you’ll see this image which is bizarrely hypnotic.

In case you’d like to know, this is in Gansu Province, in the far west of China. It’s not too far from the frightening Chinese nuclear site I blogged about a few weeks ago. The coordinates are  39°57’38.96″ N,  99°28’42.45″ E.