Our planet is full of bizarre and amazing things we never thought existed. While we get caught up in the issues of our everyday life, we tend to forget that there’s a beautiful world out there waiting to astonish us with its wonder. There are many incredible, and sometimes unexplainable natural phenomena on Earth you may not be aware of.
1. Aurora borealis
Also known as northern lights, aurora borealis is a stunning, natural light display that comes in an array of colors. This has captured the interest of many people around the world, and some really plan their flight to Canada, Alaska, Norway, Iceland, or anywhere along the aural zone during times it is most visible to witness the beauty of the light show with their naked eyes. This spectacular light display is formed when charged particles emitted from the sun enter Earth’s magnetic field and collide with atoms in our atmosphere, releasing light.
2. Volcanic lightning
We used to see lightning coming from the clouds in the sky, but sometimes they can come out of ash clouds from a volcano. This unusual phenomenon is called volcanic lightning, or a dirty thunderstorm, which has occurred in Chile, Alaska, Iceland and Japan, among others. Discovering the origins and causes of a volcanic lightning has been difficult for scientists, but one of the most prominent theories suggests that ash picks up so much friction during an eruption that the accumulation of static electricity causes lightning.
3. Colored mountains
At first sight, it seems like an artwork sparked by children’s imagination, but this technicolor mountain formation is actually legit. The Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park in China is called the Earth’s paint palette as it features bizarre and brightly colored slopes. Over 24 million years, different layers of red sandstone and mineral deposits were pressed together and were affected by rain and winds, eventually forming this incredible view.
4. Bioluminescent waves
You think the glowing ocean can only be found in Disney movies? Think again. It might be a magical sight to many of us, but this is a natural phenomenon caused by marine microbes called phytoplankton. Bioluminescence can only be visible in darkness, and it is produced when planktons were disturbed, using it as a defense mechanism.
5. Spotted lake
In Canada, there is a rare, polka-dotted lake called the Spotted Lake or the Kliluk Lake. As water evaporates from this lake during summer, it leaves behind eerie spots – each with different color caused by different minerals deposited in it.
6. Lenticular clouds
Technically named as altocumulus standing lenticularis, lenticular clouds are stationary lens-shaped clouds that form in the troposphere. These are formed when over the mountains when air is cooled sufficiently for condensation to take place, then are continually formed again over the same place by new air rising up and over a mountain. Because of its smooth, round lens-like shape, these clouds have been mistaken as UFOs or UFO covers.
7. Desert rose
You can find roses in the desert, but only in rock forms. Desert rose is a special, rose-like formation of mineral gypsum or barite, plus sand grains. The “petals” are made up of flattened crystals on an axis, fanning open in radiating flattened crystal clusters. It occurs when crystals form in arid, sandy conditions in a circular array of flat plates. Desert roses made up of gypsum usually have sharper edges than those made up of barite.
8. Frozen bubbles
These methane bubbles are beautiful, but actually dangerous because they are highly flammable. Trapped beneath the Lake Abraham in Canada, these bubbles are formed as dead organic matter fell down the water to be munched on by the bacteria below. The bacteria pooped out methane that turns into white floating spheres when they come into contact with frozen water.
Usually found in the mountainous regions of Chile and Argentina, penitentes are marvelous structures of tall, thin blades of snow or ice formed in high altitudes. These structures, ranging from two to five meters high, are directly oriented towards the direction of the sun. Penitentes are formed when the sun’s rays turn snow directly into water vapor without melting in a process called sublimation. An initially smooth snow surface develops depressions as some parts randomly sublimate faster than the others, leaving pointed pieces of snow in the surface.