15 Natural Phenomena That Are Too Strange To Actually Exist On Earth… But Do
15. Volcanic Lightning
These thunderstorms could be labeled “straight from hell” thanks to their ferocious display of lightning mixed with fiery brimstone. However, these storms are actually quite natural and occur frequently during a volcanic eruption. Personally, we’d rather be far, far away when one of these goes down.
14. Christmas Island Crab Migration
Christmas Island is known for its amazing crab migration, which is the local crab population’s annual migration to the ocean. Usually beginning during the wet season in October, the adult Red Crabs leave the the shelter of the forest to breed in the ocean. What’s so fascinating about the breeding is it’s synchronized across the entire island, meaning there are thousands of crabs moving all at once. It truly is a sight to behold.
13. Sailing Stones
Sailing stones are a geological phenomenon where rocks move and create long tracks across valley floors without any human contact. The phenomenon is caused by large ice sheets breaking up on warmer days, which triggers the rocks to move in the wind. Many of these rocks can be studied and watched in Death Valley National Park in California.
12. Fire Rainbows
During the summer, you might have the rare chance of spotting a cloud that looks like a rainbow. These rainbows are called “fire rainbows” and are also known as “circumhorizontal arcs” which take place when the sun has risen above 58 degrees in the sky and reflects off ice crystals in the clouds. According to scientists, Los Angeles is one of the prime locations to witness one of these events.
11. UFO Clouds
Lenticular clouds are commonly known as UFO clouds because they take the shape of a flying saucer. These clouds are formed at higher altitudes and are created when stable moist air flows mix with warmer air crests that trigger “waves.” Pilots will usually avoid such cloud formations because they come with a higher risk of turbulence.
10. Wave Clouds
Wave clouds are a magnificent display of Mother Nature at her finest. When turbulence occurs in the higher levels of the atmosphere, it can cause waves of air to flow like water on a pond. As the air crests, clouds are formed that can take on the shape of waves. These types of clouds usually occur when humid air is flowing upward.
9. Lake Natron Breeding Grounds
Lake Natron in the Rift Valley of Bogoria, Kenya is one of many alkaline soda lakes in the area. It’s the primary breeding ground of Africa’s nomadic flamingos and is known for its blood red color that is caused by the alkaline levels in the water, which causes algae blooms.
8. Light Waves
One strange ocean phenomenon is bioluminescent waves. These waves literally glow in the dark and are caused by massive bioluminescent phytoplankton. This particular type of plankton is in abundance when there is a widespread case of red tide or massive algae blooms. It’s definitely a beautiful sight, but deadly to the local marine life.
7. Light Pillars
Light pillars are simply incredible to witness and have an almost heavenly quality to them. They are considered an atmospheric optical phenomenon, which occur when a vertical band of light appears to stretch above and below the light source. The effect is created when small ice crystals reflect the bands of light while suspended in the atmosphere or clouds. Pretty cool, right?
6. Flower Ice Crystals
Frost flowers are usually found growing on fresh sea ice, as well as thin lake ice when the surface of the water is completely calm. These “flowers” are formed when the atmosphere is colder than the underlying sea ice, which results in rapid ice crystal formations. These formations tend to look like blooming flowers and have a very high salinity levels thanks to the chemicals mixed in the sea water they are formed from.
5. Puffer Fish Under Water “Crop” Circles
The male puffer fish is one of the hardest working fish in the sea. It’s mating ritual consists of creating a beautiful underwater design that can take up to two weeks to complete. When the female population migrates to the mating grounds, the male with the most extravagant design tends to be the most popular. Pretty amazing, right?
4. The Great Blue Hole
Located in Lighthouse Reef off the coast of Belize is a giant submarine sinkhole known as “The Great Blue Hole.” The hole is over 985 feet across and 384 feet deep and is considered one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world. The area was made famous by explorer Jacques Cousteau who discovered it while sailing on his ship the Calypso. Tourists tend to flock to the site, where recreational divers can catch glimpses of the Midnight Parrotfish and the Caribbean Reef Shark.
3. Giant’s Causeway
Located off the coast of Northern Ireland is the Giant’s Causeway, which is area of roughly 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. The natural formation was caused by an ancient volcanic eruption and is a popular site among tourists. In 1986, it was declared a World Heritage Site and has become a natural reserve. Recently, the area was declared the fourth greatest natural wonder in the U.K. by the Radio Times.
2. Monarch Migration
One of the most breathtaking sites you’ll ever see is the great migration of the Monarch butterflies. After spending a winter hibernating in Mexico, the butterflies take flight and migrate over 3,000 miles to the eastern United States, usually settling in the Rocky Mountains. There’s nothing like seeing thousands of monarchs flying through the air. We hope we get to see this phenomenon one day.
1. Monster Spiderwebs
In New Zealand, the weave spiders tend to go overboard when it comes to web making during the rainy season. These massive cobwebs blanket the countryside and buildings, almost looking like snow. As stunning as this is, we personally aren’t interested in meeting the spiders that made these things. This is like an arachnophobic’s worst nightmare.