Our planet is filled with mesmerizing phenomenas that have only been witnessed by a very few. While the solar eclipse is considered to be a rare phenomenon, there are things that happen on our very planet that are awe-inspiring. Not only are these incredible occurrences rare, but are also capable of redefining our perception of what beauty is in nature. Here, we have collected 10 such natural phenomenas to remind you of our incredible planet and its beauty.
1. There are beaches around the world that glow blue in the dark. The incredible phenomena called bioluminescence is truly a beauty to be witnessed.
There are beaches around the world that glow neon blue at night. The light is in fact produced by a natural process caused by phytoplankton (a type of micro-algae that float at the surface of the ocean water). When the waves disturb the area where they are located, the phytoplankton become agitated. In fact, any movement can cause them to become agitated and emit the neon bluish light.
According to BusinessInsider, “Phytoplankton have channels to allow protons (positively charged subatomic particles) to pass through their bodies. So, the nearby movements in the water cause protons to pass through their bodies, creating electrical pulses, which trigger chemical reactions. These reactions, in turn, activate a protein called luciferase, which creates the blue light”. (source)
2. Once every year, the sun hits Yosemite’s waterfalls just right to make it light up in a golden hue; making it appear like it is flowing lava.
The Horsetail Falls in Yosemite National Park is one of the most incredible spectacles on Earth. Every year, under the right conditions and at the right angle, the waterfall turns into a flow of illusory lava. The phenomenon takes place in late February where thousands of spectators from all over the world flock together to witness this amazing occurrence. When the sun sets, the sky is clear and the ice is melting, the Yosemite Firefall will light up for about ten minutes; emitting a golden hue for an almost supernatural experience. (source)
3. The Morning Glory cloud is a mysterious yet incredible meteorological phenomenon that creates rolled clouds.
The Morning Glory cloud is a rare meteorological phenomenon and has only been observed in Northern Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria. Basically, the phenomenon causes clouds to roll up like a wave and can be thousands of miles long. Scientists observed that the clouds can be around 4 miles high and travel up to speeds of 45 miles per hour. There is usually a strong vertical motion in front of the cloud, which is responsible for transporting air and creating the rolling appearance. Despite many images and videos of the phenomenon, scientists are unable to fully understand them since their occurrence is rare. (source)
4. Wave Rock, a natural rock formation in Australia, is shaped like a wave. It is 49 ft (15 meters) tall and is one of the most incredible and beautiful rock formations in the world.
Standing 15 meters above the outback plain and stretching 100 meters long, the Wave Rock is one of the most awesome and beautiful rock formations in the world. The rock formation appears as if a prehistoric wave was frozen in time. Composed of grey and red granite strips, the particular shape of the rock was formed by subsurface chemical weathering followed by the removal of the soft weathered granite by fluvial erosion. The colors of the rock were produced by the rain chemical deposits. Scientists estimate the stunning stone formation to be more than 2,700 millions years old. (source)
5. Incredible Ice Caves in Iceland.
When winter arrives in Iceland, cathedrals of blue crystal are formed deep within the heart of Iceland’s glaciers. The breathtaking beauty of ice structures is only available for a short period of time, so those who wish to see them must book in advance. Some of the famous and beautiful ice caves include the Vatnajokull glacier, the Svínafellsjökull ice cave, the Kverkfjoll ice caves, the Lofthellir, the Álftafjörður and the Langjokull glacier. Since the caves are temperamental structures that are constantly shifting and changing, professional guides are required. (source)
6. Salar de Uyuni, or the Bolivian Salt Flats.
Salar de Uyuni is one of the most famous tourist sites in Bolivia. The Bolivian Salt Flats basically contain 10 billion tons of salt, which the locals call “The place where Heaven meets Earth”. Every year, during the rainy season, the salt desert is magically transformed into an enormous salt lake. During this time, the salt flats are accessible by both boats and trucks, which makes them a great place for adventures. Also, the shallow salt lake perfectly mirrors the sky, creating an illusion that the desert is never ending. Every year, thousands of photographers from around the world flock to this breathtaking place, not only to witness it for themselves, but to also capture a once in a lifetime occurrence. (source)
7. Dirty thunderstorms (volcanic lightning).
Dirty thunderstorms or volcanic lightning are a rare and breath-taking phenomenon. They usually occur along with large volcanic eruptions and occur regularly at Sakurajima volcano in Japan; one of the most active volcanoes in the world. According to Marc Szeglat, a German film-maker who specializes in volcanic lightning, “The term ‘dirty thunderstorm’ means lightning in an eruption cloud from a volcano. In a normal thunderstorm ice crystals collide and generate electric charges, which results in lightning. In an eruption, cloud ash particles collide instead of ice crystals”. (source)
8. Starling murmurations.
Murmurations are naturally occurring phenomenon. It is when hundreds or thousands of birds fly together and change directions together throughout the sky. So, how do these birds manage to fly in such an intricate manner? According to scientists, the birds achieve this by using a dynamic system where each bird follows a flock of seven. So, the groups of seven stick together to make a whole with emergent properties; thus resulting in murmuration. (source)
9. Supercells, the biggest, baddest storms on the planet.
Basically, a supercell is a thunderstorm with a deep, persistently rotating updraft. They are the least common form of thunderstorm but can be the most violent. When a supercell is formed, hail stones larger than baseballs can be seen, strong damaging winds occur, and tornadoes can also be spotted. Supercells are most commonly seen in the central part of the United States, but are also known to form in other regions of the country and other parts of the world. (source)
10. Light pillars, vertical beams of light radiating into the sky.
Light pillars, or columns of light are beams of light that are formed only under the right conditions. The rare optical phenomenon is caused when light is refracted by ice crystals and take whatever color the ice crystals have. “They appear as beams of light to the observer. It is usually caused by street lights however, any source of light can create a light pillar given proper conditions,” AccuWeather Meteorologist David Samuhel said. They are mostly seen in several parts of Canada and also Alaska, since the cold climate creates ice crystals that are small enough to remain suspended in the air. (source)