By Amanda Froelich / Truth Theory
The world we inhabit and share is a wild and beautiful one. She goes through cycles, she is the destroyer and the giver of Life, and she is home for billions of species — many which still haven’t been discovered.
So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that strange and seemingly magical phenomena regularly occur on the planet. From volcanic lightning to real-life “stone animals,” there are many fascinating happenings which, when photographed, are almost too out-of-this-world to comprehend. 11 exciting examples follow:
1. Volcanic lightning
The mysterious phenomenon generally occurs at the early stages of a volcanic eruption, usually in one of two places: close to the ground ind sense ash clouds or high up near the stratosphere in the plume of volcanic smoke. It has taken scientists many years to determine its exact cause.
Curiosity reports: “For volcanic lightning near the ground, research suggests the cause is the rubbing together of individual ash particles, which builds up enough static electricity to generate a lightning bolt. Sky-high volcanic lightning has a more surprising cause: ice. Scientists think that as the plume of ash and water vapor rises from the volcano, ice begins to form in its highest layers. From there, lightning forms the same way it does in a thundercloud: ice crystals colliding build up enough of an electric charge to trigger a lightning strike.”
2. Methane ice bubbles
If you visit Lake Abraham in Alberta, Canada, this winter, you’ll notice a strange sight: frozen bubbles underneath the ice. The bubbles are caused by methane, which is released when bacteria digests organic material in the lake. Pretty neat, huh?
3. Giant’s Causeway
This mysterious phenomenon is located in Northern Ireland. Giant’s Causeway is comprised of approximately 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that overlock a rocky cliff side. Some of the columns stand as tall as12 meters (39 feet!) and have 5-8 sides.
Legend says the area was created by a mythical Irish giant, known as Finn MacCool. But, according to scientists, it is likely to be the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.
4. Undulatus Asperatus Clouds
Have you ever seen clouds that look like a moving ocean? The phenomena occurs when rising air creates widespread cloud cover. The combination with wind shear and turbulence causes the clouds to look as if they are flowing like rolling waves.
5. Lake Natron’s “stone” animals
The lake in Tanzania, Africa, produces works that look as if they were created by Medusa. But, they’re not actually stone. High alkalinity in the lake (about 10.5pH) caused by sodium carbonate and other minerals calcify unaccustomed animals.
As Spirit Science reports, this gives off a stone look when, in reality, the creatures are mummified. Fortunately, the lake isn’t a complete death trap. Animals, such as the flamingo, use the area for breeding. Check out stunning pictures of this phenomenon here.
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6. Bioluminescent waves
In special places around the world, you can experience a breathtaking sight: waves that appear to glow blue-white as they crash to shore.
The phenomenon is actually caused by phytoplankton and ostracod crustaceans. Reportedly, it occurs when the organisms are stressed, either from being touched or the impact of the waves.
7. Light pillars
Have you ever been driving or out on a hike and noticed a pillar of light extending out of the clouds? No, it’s not a UFO. Instead, the natural event is just a trick of light.
In winter or in snowy climates, plate-shaped icy crystals form in the clouds and move closer to the ground. When light from the sun or moon bounces off the crystals, an illusion of floating light is formed. Sometimes, light pillars also appear horizontally, similar to a halo.
8. Rainbow eucalyptus
This gorgeous tree looks like it was colored with Crayons or photoshopped. But, it wasn’t!
At different times during the year, the bark of the rainbow eucalyptus tree peels off. The transformative process reveals an inner bark that changes color as the tree matures. This type of tree is found in rainforests, Hawaii, and other temperate climates.
9. Moeraki boulders
In New Zealand, a beach is spotted with hundreds of massive, nearly perfectly-spherical boulders. Scientists believe the boulders were formed from ancient sea sediments and centuries of erosion. The rocks range from 1 m (3.3 ft) to 2.2 m (7.2 ft) in diameter.
10. Living rocks
The living organism known as pyura chilensis isn’t really a rock, but that’s how locals in Chile refer to it. The creature has a rough, rocky texture on the outside. But, when it is opened up with a hacksaw or knife, blood and organs are revealed.
The food is considered to be a local delicacy in the South American country. But, researchers aren’t so sure they’re actually safe to eat, as they contain a high concentration of vanadium.
11. Spider web fields
Arachnophobes may want to keep scrolling.
Following a period of intense flooding in a particular area in the city of Wagga Wagga, Australia, millions of spiders fled their homes and moved to the countryside. As they created new webs, the insects turned an ordinary field into the stuff of nightmares (for most people).
If you’d like to learn more, watch this video. (Warning: it is not for the faint of heart)
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