Weird And Incredible Natural Phenomena
The Earth is home to some very strange and extraordinary natural wonders. From dazzling light shows in the upper atmosphere to the mass migrations of insects. Read on to learn more about some of the coolest and most awe-inspiring Phenomenon on the planet.
Amazing to behold and difficult to study. In Ancient Greece, it may have been thought to be the god Hephaestus forging lightning bolts for Zeus in his forge. Scientists believe that the eruption of ash (and sometimes water) from a volcano generates an electrical charge. When the ash and water particles collide with each other while rising up the plume of the volcano eruption they can produce enough static electricity to generate a lightning strike.
Also known as the northern or southern lights and seen only at the most high-latitude areas on earth. Auroras are the result of solar wind hitting the magnetosphere. When this disruption occurs the charged particles from the solar wind cause the elections in the upper atmosphere to rise into a higher energy state. When the electrons drop back down to a lower energy level they emit photons. These photons, which are visible light that the eye can see display in either blue, green, pink, yellow, violet and sometimes orange and white bands of color.
Monarch Butterfly Migration
The annual migration of North America’s monarch butterflies is an outright fascinating natural phenomenon. Happening twice a year in summer and autumn from the United States to the much warmer climate in central Mexico or the coasts of California. Birds are the only other known species to make a similar twice a year migration.
The subspecies Danaus plexippus plexippus migrates in groups that number up to half a million strong and will spend the entire winter in the warmer southern climates. No single butterfly will survive the entire trip as the females will lay their eggs in preparation for the next generation to make the trip back north. The butterflies will form roosts that can completely engulf the trees they have chosen for their winter homes.
The Taylor Glacier was first discovered in Antarctica in 1911. There is an underground lake that is full of so much iron that when the water reaches the surface through cracks in the glacier it reacts with the surrounding air and oxidizes. This is the same chemical process that will cause metal to rust and is responsible for the blood-red color of the water.
Sun (or Moon) Halos are an optical illusion caused by the refraction of light bouncing off of ice crystals hanging in the air. Interestingly, being able to see the Halos are wholly dependant on the relative position of the viewer. Much like rainbows, you need to be standing in just right a position to see the optical illusion. This is because the ice crystals behave like prisms scattering the light in different directions.
The Gateway to Hell
A fire intentionally lit by petroleum engineers has been burning since 1971. In the Karakum Desert of Turkmenistan, the fire is still burning and looks like an entrance to the underworld. A natural gas field was collapsed into a cavern under the surface to prevent the dangerous spread of methane gas to a nearby town.
The production and emission of light from living organisms. This phenomenon mainly occurs in insects and fish deep in the ocean where the light can no longer penetrate down from the surface. Many of the light-emitting species are well-known, such as fireflies, glowworms, jellyfish, and anglerfish. There are also bioluminescent bacteria and fungi.
The light is created by means of a chemical reaction and because the amount of bioluminescent species is so varied, no one species uses the same process as the others. The purpose is also just as varied as the number of species that can emit light. Anglerfish will use the light as a lure to catch prey. Light used for camouflage, warnings, and communication has also been seen in nature.
Fields Of Spider Webs
Leave it to Australia. That’s not snow blanketing the countryside, it’s a field entirely covered in spider webs. The phenomenon is called a ‘mass ballooning event’. Millions of baby spiders extend strands of web out so they can be picked up and carried off by the wind. The strands of web act like tiny spider hang gliders that they use to migrate to new areas to find food and shelter. Residents report seeing millions of individual threads, each carrying a single baby spider floating through the air up to 30 kilometers from their origin point. Hence the more terrifyingly accurate name the locals use to describe the phenomenon, ‘spider rain’.