30 Weird and Wonderful Natural Phenomena From Around the World
1. Manannan's Cloak - Isle of Man
Thick sea fog occasionally covers the islands lowland - named after the island's ancient Sea God who was believed to swath his kingdom in mist in order to prevent intruders from entering.
2. Namibia's Fairy Circles - Namibia
Originally thought by the Himba people to be cause by the Gods, in modern times the sand termite and competition between plant species has also been blamed.
3. Sailing Stones - Death Valley, USA
Rocks move along the valley floor with no intervention. A mystery for decades, it has recently been found to be cause by ice sheets that are driven by light winds.
4. The Giant's Causeway - Northern Ireland
Legend states that the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant to meet another in order to fight. The columns were actually created as a result of lava flow cooling and cracking.
5. Kjeragbolten Boulder - Norway
A boulder lodged between two mountains, caused by moving rock formations and sea level rising during the last glacial period around 50,000 BC.
6. Bioluminescent Waves - Vaadhoo Island, Maldives
Phytoplankton in the waves glow light blue and light up waves, believed to be due to a special channel in their cell membrane.
7. Morning Glory Clouds - Northern Australia
A long cloud wave forms that can be up to 1000 km long are often only 100-200 m above the ground. This cloud type only predictably occurs in Northern Australia.
8. The Great Blue Hole - Belize
A large, circular submarine sinkhole which stretches 984 feet deep. Formed before sea levels rose, it is a popular scuba diving site.
9. Hessdalen Light - Norway
An unexplained light that occurs in the Hessdalen valley. Appears as a bright white light floating above the ground. Activity peaked between 1982 and 1984 but still occurs 10-20 times per year.
10. Underwater Crop Circles - Japan
The male pufferfish creat underwater crop circles in order to attract mates. These circles are around 7 feet in diameter and take around 8 days to complete!
11. Christmas Island Crabs - Christmas Island
The annual breeding of over 40 million red crabs is so vast in number that fences have been set up to protect crabs from cars, and cars from crab shells which can puncture tyres.
12. Dirty Thunderstorm - Erupting Volcano
Lightening which occurs in a volcanic plume. Rock fragments, ash and ice particles from the plume collide to produce static charges, which create lightening.
13. Aurora Borealis - Northern Hemisphere
The "Northern Light" is caused by charged particles from cosmic rays ionizing atmospheric constituents, resulting in light emission as a result of excitation.
14. Rainbow Eucalyptus - Northern Hemisphere
Patches of outer bark shed annually at different times, exposing a green inner bark that turns blue, purple, orange and maroon as it matures.
15. Earthquake Lights - Sky
Light that appear in the sky before or during seismic activity - believed to be caused by tectonic stress ionizing oxygen which travels through cracks to the surface, ionizing air to produce light.
16. Lenticular Clouds - Sky
These stationary lens-shaped clouds form in the troposphere and can be seen in various location across the world. They are often used to explain reported UFO sightings.
17. Rainbow - Sky
Rainbow are formed due to reflection, refraction and dispersion of water droplets - creating the spectrum of light to appear.
18. Fallstreak Holes - Sky
A portion of a cloud with super cooled water droplets freezes, drawing in the surrounding water to create ice crystals, punching a hole in the centre of the cloud.
19. Total Solar Eclipse - Sky
Due to their difference in size and distance from the Earth being in almost perfect ratio, the Moon can sometimes totally block the Sun during its orbit of Earth.
20. A red Sunset - Horizon
At sunset the Sun's light must travel further through the atmosphere to reach the eye. This scatters the light - and red, having the longest wavelength, is the last to be scattered.
21. Frost Flowers - Lakes/Oceans
Ice crystals that are formed on lake ice in cold, calm conditions. A large ice-air temperature difference is required for formation.
22. Brinicles - Oceans
Forms beneath sea ice when sub-zero saline water is introduced to an area of ocean water. The mineral fall ti the bottom, freezing the water around it and forming brinicles.
23. Waterspout - Oceans
A spinning column for air and water - waterspouts can be created by tornadoes that develop during thunderstorms.
24. Penitentes - High Altitudes
Tall and thin blades of snow or ice form at high altitudes and are closely spaced. Penitentes form via sublimation, when the water goes straight form gas to solid form without becoming liquid.
25. Fire Whirls - Forests
When a tornado encounters a forest fire it can suck up the flames, resulting in the creation of an incredible fire whirl.
26. The Great Red Spot - Space
The Great Red Spot is a giant hurricane-esque storm from the width of three Earths that has persisted on Jupiter for over 400 years.
27. Gliese 436b - Space
This planet is 30 lightyears away from earth, and ice on its surface is forced to stay in solid form due to the immense gravity, despite the temperature being in excess of 400 C.
28. A Ninth Planet? - Space
Computer models have suggested that Jupiter's gravity may have thrown a planet the size of Neptune out of our Solar System early on, leading to the order of planets we recognize today.
29. Synaesthesia - Humans
Synaesthesia is the phenomenon in which the stimulation of one sense elicits the involuntary sensation of another, for example auditory stimuli can elicit color sensation.
30. Pareidolia - Humans
The phenomenon in which humans perceieve a familiar patter where there is none there, for example seeing a face in the dark or shape in the clouds!