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The 20 most natural phenomena beautiful and rare

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Martí Micolau
@martímicolau
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Nature is always unpredictable and has created breathtaking wonders, each of its creatures is a real miracle. But the world is also full of strange things, phenomena that cause the curiosity of the human mind since the remotest antiquity. There are events entirely created by nature that appear to us unusual and different from what we are used to seeing. These phenomena occur in different parts of the world, some are so bizarre that it can be hard to believe they really exist! These spectacular, and sometimes unsettling wonders reveal the immense power of nature: from bioluminescence to the Northern Lights, here are some of the most fascinating natural phenomena the world.



Index

  1. Volcanic lightning, all over the world
  2. Bioluminescence, Pacific Ocean - Gulf of Mexico
  3. Lenticular clouds, all over the world
  4. Circumorizontal arc, high altitudes - North America - Northern Europe
  5. Northern Lights, Arctic Circles
  6. Frozen methane bubbles, Abraham lake - Canada
  7. Supercella, Canada - Mexico - Argentina - Bangladesh - part of eastern India - South Africa and Australia
  8. Rainbow Eucalyptus, Maui - Hawaii
  9. Red Tide, all over the world
  10. Migration of red crabs, Christmas Island - Australia
  11. Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
  12. Fairy circles, Namibia
  13. "Crop circles" underwater, Japan
  14. Moeraki Spheres, New Zealand
  15. Great Blue Chasm, Belize
  16. Movable stones, Racetrack Playa - California
  17. Spotted Lake, Canada
  18. Ice flowers, Arctic Ocean
  19. Blue lava, Kawah Ijen volcano - Indonesia
  20. Tornadoes of fire, all over the world
  21. User questions and comments

1 - Volcanic lightning, all over the world

This spectacular phenomenon unites the strength of gas and ashes released by the volcano to that of lightning, which occurs during the eruption. Despite the truly scenographic effect, it is a rather normal phenomenon and was also observed during the last eruption of Vesuvius in March 1944. The lightning is none other than a very intense flow of electricity which occurs between two areas in which there are positive and negative electrical charges. For this to happen, two conditions are necessary: ​​a mechanism must take over that generates the separation of charges between two large masses of matter and a process that connects the two masses and subsequently creates the flow of electricity. There collision of dust and ash particles, which occurs during a volcanic eruption, corresponds to the first condition. The second, on the other hand, occurs during the process of separating the charges, if they have different aerodynamic properties.



2 - Bioluminescence, Pacific Ocean - Gulf of Mexico

The near-spectral light from this phenomenon is created by a chemical reaction called bioluminescence, which occurs when tiny organisms in the water are somehow disturbed. Bioluminescence is generally used by creatures that populate the deepest abysses of the oceans, where the sun's rays do not arrive in any form, and therefore the thickest darkness is perennial. The occurrence of this phenomenon even in areas where it had never appeared before it is fascinating but at the same time disturbing. Scientists explain that it is a symptom of climate change: until 1994, for example, the presence of these microorganisms had never been witnessed, but global warming, strengthening the Australian eastern current, pushed large masses of hot water south. , towards the island state.

3 - Lenticular clouds, all over the world

Lenticular clouds owe their name to their appearance, they are in fact gods troposphere formations which, often, are the explanation for alleged UFO sightings. In fact, they have a typical shape reminiscent of a "spaceship", with smooth and well-defined contours. They represent the part visible to the naked eye of the so-called orographic waves, which are created on the leeward side of a mountain when particularly intense currents create undulations in the atmosphere. They can occur all over the world, even in Europe albeit more rarely, giving rise to spectacular effects especially when they "rest" on Mount Olympus or right above Etna.


4 - Circumorizontal arc, high altitudes - North America - Northern Europe

Also called the rainbow of fire, this phenomenon almost seems a colored flame that blazes across the sky. It is a fairly rare phenomenon and occurs only in certain latitudes, where there are very harsh climates. The phenomenon is in fact caused by the sun's rays hitting the cirrus clouds, a type of cloud that forms and stays at altitudes above 6.000 meters, with an inclination of 58 °. The hexagonal shaped ice crystals, of which the cirrus clouds are made, create a refractive effect by acting as a huge prism.


5 - Northern Lights, Arctic Circles

Auroras or polar lights are mesmerizing natural lights that occur in the skies of high-latitude regions, such as Alaska, Denmark, Ireland, Greenland, Scandinavia, Russia and Canada. Admiring this phenomenon means observing some light trails in the sky which take on different colors, based on the gases present in the air. This phenomenon is part of the optical ones, like lightning, rainbows and glories.

What causes this effect? Solar particles, made up mostly of electrons, collide at high speed with the Earth's magnetic field and with gases found in the outermost layers of the atmosphere. The energy produced by this clash causes light to appear in our eyes with various wavelengths, creating precisely the auroral arcs.

6 - Frozen methane bubbles, Abraham Lake - Canada

We are used to hearing troubling news that global warming is causing glaciers to melt, the resulting sea rise and storms and hurricanes to increase. In a region of Canada, Alberta, there is a lake which, due to the climate, risks catching fire! The man-made Abraham Lake, created by man in 1972 as a result of the construction of the Bighorn Dam, is indeed full of frozen methane gas bubbles. As the hot season approaches, during the thaw, they risk bursting and igniting without warning. The scenic effect is really special, but what allows the creation of these potentially dangerous icy bubbles?
The water of the lake, during the cold winter months, is gradually returned to the river to create hydroelectric energy. The lake is located in an area with little rain and with incessant winds, consequently it receives little snow that cannot cover its surface: the continuous lowering of the water level causes it to fragment, a bit like the plates terrestrial tectonics. Methane bubbles, produced by the decomposition of organic material they get trapped under the icy layer.



7 - Supercella, Canada - Mexico - Argentina - Bangladesh - part of eastern India - South Africa and Australia

A supercell is basically a stronger and more tornado-like version of a normal storm. Meteorologists define this phenomenon as a thunderstorm with the presence of a mesocyclone, or low pressure in rotation. They are considered quite dangerous due to the power they emit, although they occur less frequently than tornadoes.

8 - Rainbow Eucalyptus, Maui - Hawaii

Have you ever seen a tree trunk colored green, purple, orange and yellow? Yet it exists! It is a particular species of Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta), also called Rainbow Eucalyptus, precisely because its bark is characteristically colorful. It is not the work of some extravagant artist, but only of nature: it is a determined phenomenon by the detachment of some pieces of bark which happens at different times. The innermost part of the stem is bright green, darkens with time and takes on shades of blue and purple, up to brown and orange. Precisely for this characteristic, this species of Eucalyptus is cultivated for the production of wood which, when processed, is transformed into colored paper. If you want to try to grow this beautiful tree in your garden, you can try to buy some seeds, which are currently on the market.

9 - Red Tide, all over the world

Someone will surely remember the episode told in the Bible, more specifically in the Exodus, of the Ten Plagues of Egypt. The first of these plagues was the transformation of the Nile water into "blood", resulting in the death of the fish. Actually today we know that this is a phenomenon that occurs all over the world, red tides have been observed on the coasts of the United States and Canada, in Australia, in Brunei, in northwestern Europe, in the Philippines, Japan, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea but also elsewhere.

What happens when the sea turns deep red, almost to look like blood? The phenomenon, frankly a bit disturbing, it is caused by some species of microscopic unicellular algae or from protozoa called dinoflagellates, which grow and reproduce in an explosive way, reaching a concentration that can reach the number of 50 million specimens per liter of water! Scientific studies have not yet been able to provide a single explanation for this phenomenon, however it is believed that uncontrolled proliferation is the consequence of various aspects: climatic anomalies, optimal temperatures, excessive presence of nutrients in the water, lots of sunlight and favorable sea currents. Obviously, man too has his share of "guilt": organic and industrial waste discharged into the sea in large quantities they provide an overabundance of certain nutrients. Generally, the phenomenon is harmless but, at times, it can be very dangerous: some species of dinoflagellates release into the water some toxins that paralyze and kill fish and other sea creatures.

10 - Migration of red crabs, Christmas Island - Australia

A truly unique phenomenon occurs on this small mountainous island located off the coast of Australia: once a year, the surface is almost completely covered by a river of red claws. During the period of their migrationBetween the months of October and December, an astonishing number of adult specimens of crabs of the species Gecarcoidea natalis pours through the streets of Christmas Island and crosses the island, starting from the forest and heading towards the coast. Here their march ends, with mating and spawning. If the sight of this multitude may seem almost terrifying to strangers, in reality the inhabitants of the island are quite used to this phenomenon and do their utmost to help the crabs in their march: the roads are closed, bridges and underpasses are built to the transit of the "red river".

11 - Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

This rocky outcrop is located on the coasts of Northern Ireland, precisely to the north-east, in County Antrim. The unique rock formations in the world are the result of lava flows over sixty million years ago which, cooling down, created these hexagonal shaped basalt columns. This "path", given its uniqueness, in 1986 was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. As you know, Ireland is a land of myths and legends, could one be missing linked to this fascinating place?
It is said that the giant Finn McCool built this pavement to travel to Scotland to fight the giant Angus but, shortly before leaving, he fell asleep. Angus therefore came to look for him, Finn's wife to protect her husband covered him with a cloth and tried to convince the rival that this, in reality, was their child. When Angus saw how big this alleged child was, he also imagined the size of the opponent, so he ran away in retreat, terrified, destroying the pavement so as not to be chased. Even the Scottish island of Staffa, in fact, presents the same basaltic formations.

12 - Fairy Circles, Namibia

They can be compared to the famous and equally mysterious crop circles, even if they are the reverse, that is circles of grass with sand in the center: the Fairy Circles are present only in Namibia and give life to a truly spectacular effect, especially when viewed from above. Scientists have been wondering for some time about these natural conformations, formulating the most disparate hypotheses to try to explain the reasons for their appearance. They appear and disappear after a few years, the larger they are and the longer they remain "alive", on average they resist for 24 years but some even 75. The peculiarity that makes them evident is the vegetation, which grows following its circumference. In short, where do these circles originate? Obviously it is the population has always considered them as something related to divine intervention, but many scientists have tried to provide an empirical answer to this question. Authoritative research published in Science argues that they are the result of the work of termites that live right inside the circles: even if the hypothesis is to be verified, termites are actually the only animals present in the soil when the circles begin to form. They also feed on the roots of the grass, helping to eliminate a large part of it when it grows during the rainy season.

13 - Underwater "Crop circles", Japan

Also in this case the phenomenon is very similar to that of crop circles, only these are located in the deep sea of ​​Japan. A snorkel enthusiast, armed with a camera, once he earned his coveted diving license, he began to perfect the art of underwater photography to become a freelance photographer. One day he dived into the semi-tropical region of Amami Oshima, about 25 meters below sea level, and discovered these circular geometric shapes which measured about 6,5 meters in diameter. The news of the discovery of these apparently mysterious "sand circles" has been around the world, even the Japanese television station NHK has broadcast live "The discovery of the century: The Mysterious Sand Circles", also revealing the solution to the riddle.
The cameras have in fact immortalized the artist, that is a small and rare type of puffer fish who works tirelessly day and night and sculpts circular crests with just the fluttering fin. The puffer fish enriches its work of art with small shells, cracks and internal grooves not so much for aesthetic purposes but rather "romantic": the male thus intends to attract the females to mate and lay the eggs that will take place in the center of the circle. Even the shells placed so carefully are not decorative but serve as nourishment for the hatching of the eggs.

14 - Moeraki Spheres, New Zealand

With their almost perfect spherical shape they look like cocoons of huge alien insects. In reality the Moeraki spheres are huge boulders (up to 3 meters in diameter) found along some coastal areas of New Zealand. These stones do not hide anything so mysterious: they are formed from the sediments of the seabed that have joined together due to a process similar to that of the creation of pearls. The spheres are also millions of years old and, given their shape and size, it seems almost impossible that they are the product of a natural process! Instead it is just like that, once again man has nothing to do but it is always nature that leaves us amazed.

15 - Great Blue Chasm, Belize

Generally it is not unusual to find more or less deep holes in the ground, and in fact we are not surprised. This huge hole, on the other hand, has something special. It is located off the coast of Belize, inside a tiny atoll 100 km away from Belize City, and has an almost perfectly circular shape. Here the color of the water changes radically, from a crystalline blue to dark blue, due to the depth of the seabed, which suddenly passes from a few meters to over 100 meters. The Great Blue Chasm has a diameter of over 300 meters, its birth seems to be caused from the collapse of a system of limestone caves which in the beginning was above sea level, which occurred when the waters rose after the end of the past ice age. The water temperature also changes considerably: that on the surface measures an average of 24 ° C, the deeper you go and the more the water temperature decreases, for this it is necessary to use a wetsuit. The site ranks tenth in the list of the most interesting places in the world and is a very popular destination for all divers. Inside the chasm there are some stalactites, the splendid coral and various populations of fish that live there. The Great Blue Hole was also observed by NASA with the Earth Observing-1 satellite.

16 - Movable stones, Racetrack Playa - California

"Like a rolling stone" is the title of a famous Bob Dylan song and is perfect for describing this phenomenon that has remained unexplained for decades. It takes place in a desert, the so-called Valley of Death, made up of a bottom of dried mud that has broken into small and perfect octagons and pentagons. Although the ground is perfectly flat, some stones of various sizes and weights they seem to move independently, sometimes moving a few meters, sometimes entire kilometers. In 2006, John Hopkins University scientist Ralph Lorenz was working in this area for NASA, collaborating on a project that involved the installation of weather stations. The environment and atmospheric conditions at Death Valley are in fact very similar to those of the planet Mars. The scientist, in parallel with the "official" research, seems to have also discovered the origin of the phenomenon. The turning point in the research came when he noticed a point where two rocks had collided: they had not bumped into each other, they had not really touched, as if one had released some strange force field that had deflected the other. . This evidence reminded him of a phenomenon he had read about, which occurs in the Arctic region and which seems to occur here in a similar way. In practice, being the playa a very dry place, when it rains in winter the water accumulates in some pools and freezes. The sun causes the thaw and forms chunks of ice that are pushed by the wind until they hit the stones and start pushing them. Due to the water, the ground is less resistant and the stones can be moved easily.

17 - Spotted Lake, Canada

The "spotted lake" attracts visitors from all over the world due to its particular formation, it is in fact "stained" due to the high concentration of different minerals, such as magnesium sulphate, calcium, sodium sulphates and smaller parts of silver and titanium. The large mineral patches, which appear white yellow, green or blue, are what remains of the water evaporation process. During the First World War, an intense mining activity took place here for the minerals from the lake, which were later used to make ammunition. It also seems that the Chinese workers in charge of collecting the minerals have recovered up to a ton a day of material! Okanagan Valley natives consider this lake a sacred place and particularly significant for their culture, so much so that its commercial exploitation caused not a few controversies. The waters of the lake have been known for millennia for their therapeutic properties, which the native Indians used to heal pains and ailments of various kinds.

18 - Ice flowers, Arctic Ocean

If you think that flowers can only bloom in the warmth of spring, you are wrong. There are ice flowers floating on the Arctic Ocean and forming at very low temperatures, roughly - 22 ° C! The show offered is truly amazing: obviously they are not real flowers, but ice imperfections which is on the surface and which takes on pointed shapes, similar to real frozen flowers. Like the coral reef, they form a temporary ecosystem thanks to the presence of many microorganisms.

19 - Blue lava, Kawah Ijen volcano - Indonesia

Kawah Ijen volcano, in Indonesia, is a common volcano that erupts bright red lava during the day, while at night the lava takes on a phosphorescent blue color. The site, in addition to lava, also produces flames of the same color which can reach 5 meters in height.

What causes this phenomenon is the large amount of sulfur present in the lava and in the air. Furthermore, on the top of the volcano, there is the most acidic crater lake in the world, and the gases produced during the release of the material are harmful to humans ... a welcoming place! Despite these pestiferous characteristics, the site is visited by many tourists, especially since National Geographic has talked about the phenomenon making it known all over the world.

20 - Tornado of fire, all over the world

One of the most feared natural nightmares comes to life, a tornado made up of sky-high flames! This very dangerous phenomenon, in English fire whirl or firenado, develops when during a fire, based on the temperature of the air and the currents, a "tongue" of fire that begins to rotate forming a vortex. Fortunately, the phenomenon generally lasts only a few minutes and is therefore very difficult to capture with one shot. The danger and lethality of this phenomenon is well evidenced by an episode that took place in 1932 in Japan when, during the Great Kantō earthquake, various fires were triggered. A huge whirlwind of fire broke out that killed 38.000 people in fifteen minutes.

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