Earth. The planet we are all lucky enough to call “home.” Did you know there is more to this big ball of rock and water than meets the eye? Yes, it turns out that the entire population of the world could fit inside Los Angeles. That is if everyone stands shoulder to shoulder with one another. Still, that puts us into perspective. However, the 7.5 billion people in this world only continues to grow as four babies are born around the world every second of the day.
Some facts about our planet have boggled our minds over the years, but there are some things that exist out there in the world that we never even knew about. Just when we thought that the world couldn’t get any more beautiful, it turns out that Mother Nature has been hard at work.
Crop circles at the bottom of the ocean
Crop circles have been a topic of conversation for conspiracy theorists and alien hunters for years. So what about the ones that appear at the bottom of the ocean? Sure, we’re used to seeing ones in cornfields, but this is taking it to a new level. Have no fear; there aren’t any water-loving aliens trying to take over the planet – yet.
They are actually made by male pufferfish. The circles can be up to seven-foot wide, even though the fish are just five inches long and are made to try and woo the females. They spend more than a week digging channels with their little fins as they want to create the most intricate designs on the ocean floor.
Marble Caves in Patagonia
Some things almost seem too beautiful to be true. The Marble Caves in Patagonia are no exception. Us humans couldn’t even come close to creating such beauty. It’s taken nature years of erosion and sunlight to create the beautiful swirling colors that fill the caves. The unique rock – made entirely of marble – sits in the middle of a lake.
It’s taken around 6,000 years for the water to erode the layers of marble and expose the beauty underneath. However, getting here is no easy feat. You have to drive for hours along a rocky mountain pass before taking a 30-minute boat ride to get to the caves. Thankfully, the sight you are greeted with is one that’s truly out of this world.
No, these trees haven’t been painted these colors. This is all thanks to Mother Nature and her beautiful eye for creating things that seem unbelievable. The rainbow eucalyptus tree is the only eucalyptus tree to grow in the northern hemisphere, and it’s left people wondering for many years.
The colors are all thanks to the tree’s bark. More specifically, it’s all about when the bark peels off the trees. It occasionally sheds it in stages. The exposed area turns green but soon starts to change color when it’s exposed to the elements. As different parts of the bark all shed at different times of the year, the tree is left with multicolored pieces peeking out from underneath. They really are beautiful.
Kjeragbolten in Norway
You best be prepared to lace up your hiking boots and get walking if you want to see Kjeragbolten boulder for yourself. That’s because it’s found along the Kjeragbolten trail. This can only be done in the summer as the cold weather and snow make it dangerous to undertake. That’s not all.
It takes most people up to eight hours to complete. However, the climb is worth it to see a boulder that’s been stuck in place for thousands of years. Norway was once covered in glaciers. During the last ice age, the ice all melted and caused mass flooding. It was these floods that deposited the boulder in place, and it’s remained there ever since – 3,228 feet above the ground.
Bioluminescent beaches in The Maldives
Let’s face it; beaches can often be some of the most breathtaking places in the world as the water meets the land. The sculptured rocks and delicate beaches almost seem too good to be true. So what about a beach that looks as though it’s stolen the night sky? That’s where bioluminescent beaches come in.
It is tough to know when or where these bioluminescent beaches will occur. Still, if you are lucky enough to see one, you can enjoy a sight that most people only ever get to dream about. There are no secret stars in the water. In fact, the light comes from a type of plankton. It’s thought that they light up to try and distract and disorientate predators.
Lake Natron has a twisted and bizarre story. The lake is home to the annual pink parade that sees millions of flamingos gather for their breeding season. Everywhere you look is a sea of pink as 75% of the birds in the world gather here every year. They are one of the only creatures that have ever been able to survive at the lake.
As well as having everything they need here to survive, the flamingos are also free from predators. That’s all thanks to the ridiculously high salt levels. The lake can often be impossible to spot. When most things land in the water, the heat alone is enough to end their lives. The salt then preserves their body as a nightmare-fuelled statue.
Lake Hillier in Australia
Most of us are used to spotting blue patches on the map and knowing that it’s water of some kind. However, Mother Nature likes to mess with our heads, especially when it comes to Lake Hillier in Australia. There’s no crystal-clear water in sight as the lake is actually made up of bright pink water instead.
But how? It turns out that no one really knows the answer. Many scientists agree that the color is probably made by a type of microalgae or bacteria. The lake is pretty small. That doesn’t mean that it’s any less impressive. It’s filled with unique species of fish and has attracted thousands of visitors over the years. Amazingly, Lake Hillier isn’t the only pink lake.
Underwater Forest in Lake Kaindy
Sometimes, you have to look beneath the surface to see the true beauty and wonder of a place. Although the top of Lake Kaindy looks breathtaking thanks to the forest that fills the water, it turns into a ghostly forest as soon as you look below the water. An earthquake back in 1911 is all to blame for the Underwater Forest.
It caused limestone to build a natural damn, and it’s been collecting water ever since. Amazingly, the forest has somehow been able to survive all these years. It’s almost 100 feet deep at the deepest point. Some people are brave enough to dive into the lake to witness the wonder while others prefer to keep their heads above water.
The world’s largest and deepest lake. That’s not a title that most of us hold, but Lake Baikal knows all about it. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s also the oldest lake in the world. It’s more than 5,300 feet deep at the deepest point and is made entirely from freshwater. It’s often referred to as the Sacred Sea thanks to its vast size.
It’s fed by more than 300 streams and has 27 uninhabited islands dotted around the surface. It’s found in Russia where it has been largely left alone. This means that thousands of species have adapted to live in and around the water. The extreme winters mean that it’s often surrounded by stunning natural ice sculptures.
You’ll be lucky if you ever get to see a frost flower with your own eyes. This is all thanks to the fact that conditions have to be perfect for them to form – and that doesn’t happen very often. However, when they do, people are greeted by some of the most incredible shapes and patterns that nature has to offer.
They are made when water escapes from the stem of a plant and freezes. The thin layers of ice then start to fold and curl into one another. It’s vital that the ground doesn’t freeze. This means that the water can continue to flow up the plant while the exterior conditions are cold enough for any liquid to freeze. Wow.
Everlasting Storm around Catatumbo River
Don’t believe there could be an everlasting storm? Think again. Lightning storms have occurred around every other night for thousands of years as Catatumbo River, and it doesn’t look as though they will stop anytime soon. It’s estimated that around 1.2 million lightning strikes happen in the area every year. Storms can also last for up to ten hours a night.
There isn’t much escaping from the Everlasting Storm. There are many theories about what causes these impressive storms. One of the most popular says that they’re linked to the methane gas released from boggy marshes in the area. Now, the locals have learned how to harness the storms’ powers as most of the surrounding towns use the electricity.
Areas that are prone to extreme floods might notice something else that happens as a result: cocooned trees. The reason behind the cocoons is incredible as spiders come together to seek shelter from the water. That’s right; the floods are enough to drive them to find higher ground. This was shown in Pakistan back in 2010.
Entire villages were wiped out, and spiders had nowhere to go but up. They eventually settled by taking over whole trees, and it’s thought their webs helped to keep malaria-ridden mosquitos at bay. Australia has also seen this phenomenon over the years. Floods across the nation have led various spiders to come together and dominate local trees and fields until the water has receded.
Mendenhall Ice Caves in Alaska
We’ve heard of caves in the mountains. We’ve heard of caves under the sea. So what about caves made out of ice? It turns out that the Mendenhall Ice Caves in Alaska have kept us wondering for years – and it was made all by itself. This is one of the few places that you can see water at every stage in the water cycle.
The caves are found in a glacier. As the ice melts and water flows around the glacier, it carves out new caves and tunnels to add to the already intricate system. As soon as you step inside, the entire space seems to light up in bright blue thanks to the way ice absorbs all colors other than blue.
New Zealand is a country that’s filled with incredible sights and sounds. It seems as though every area of the country offers up a new adventure to enjoy. Slope Point is the southernmost point on South Island, but there is more than just this title that draws so many people to the area. It’s the bizarre Slope Point trees.
The wind here is harsh, and by harsh, we mean enough that it’s been able to morph trees over the years. Now, a patch of trees has all tangled together and grown sideways rather than upwards. It turns out they were first planted by sheep farmers who wanted to provide shelter for their animals. However, the bizarre phenomenon is now a huge draw.
There are some things that look too out-there to be true. Light pillars are one of those things. Don’t try to adjust your vision or break out the tin foil hats just yet. There is a good reason that these appear across the sky. They are a phenomenon that has emerged across the world over the years, but what are they?
Light pillars are an optical illusion that appears when particles of light are refracted by ice crystals. The ice needs to be near to the ground, and the air has to be still for them to appear. When the temperature is cold, and the ice crystals are suspended just above the ground, there is a chance they will appear.
Ever-burning gas chamber
What do you do when you come across a 230-foot-wide crater that’s filled with a burning fire that looks like it’s come straight from downstairs? The chances are that most of us would turn and run in the other direction. The Darvaza gas crater has been dubbed as one of the creepiest places on the planet thanks to the eerie atmosphere it creates.
The local government tried to get it filled in almost ten years ago, but their plans never came to anything. Researchers discovered the pocket of gas back in 1971. They decided to light it up to burn it out. Little did they know that the fire would continue burning for almost 50 years. It turns out that Mother Nature fights back.
Monarch butterfly migration
Butterflies are beautiful creatures that come in all shapes and sizes. However, it’s the great monarch butterfly migration that sees the species come together and take to the skies. Every September, the butterflies fly more than 1,500 miles from Southern California to Mexico and Southern California in search of warmer weather.
In the spring, they do it all in reverse. The journey takes so long that butterflies don’t make it from one end of the trip to the other, but they lay their eggs, and their youngsters carry on where their parents left off. Research shows that the butterflies have learned how to use the wind to their advantage and have even traveled up to 60 miles in one day.
Red Beach in China
When thinking of the beach, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Perhaps it’s the gentle crashing of the waves? How about palm trees lining the beach? What about glowing white sand? You’re out of luck if you want to see white sand at Red Beach, but you do get to witness something else that’s even more breathtaking instead.
The entire beach is covered by Sueda, a type of red plant. The beach also includes the largest marsh and wetland in the world. This is home to 399 species of wild animals and 260 types of birds. The diverse ecosystem, the sprawling red beaches, and a beach that’s become famous as the “home of the cranes” – could life get any better?
It turns out that Lassen National Park in Northern California is home to one of the greatest natural phenomena that any of us will ever get to see. It’s probably pretty easy to see how the Painted Dunes earned their name. They look like they should be in a picture frame hanging in a world-famous art gallery, not be a living ecosystem.
It’s taken years of work by Mother Nature to create this wonderland. The pumice fields are made from oxidized volcanic ash. It fell onto flowing lava while it was still hot and left these magical colors. Amazingly, they have lasted all this time – even more astounding when we learn the cinder cone volcano last erupted around the 1650s.
Frozen bubbles of methane at Vermillion Lakes
Is it a stone? Is it a jellyfish? No, it’s actually a collection of frozen bubbles of methane. That’s not quite as exciting as we once thought. Still, it’s certainly an interesting aspect of nature that we never knew existed. The bubbles are found in the Vermillion Lakes, and they have captured photographers who all want to make art pieces from the strange additions.
The methane is released when microbes consume organic matter found along the bottom of the lake. The bubbles occur at all times of the year, but they usually just rise to the surface and pop. In the winter, they have nowhere to go and get trapped beneath the surface. The results? Some of the most fascinating photos.
Watching clouds os great. That is until you look up and think there’s a UFO that’s about to take over the planet. It seems as though the aliens aren’t here just yet. Not if you’re lying underneath a lenticular cloud that is. They typically form over mountain ranges, making it look like Mount Olympus has come to Earth.
This is thanks to the moist air that flows over the top of the mountains. As the air moves back down into the atmosphere, the cloud evaporates and turns back into water. Thankfully, the cold air and moistness mean that the rest of the cloud stays intact. Some of the clouds form in layers, while others have a more prominent shape.
Fairy circles in Namibia
Deep out in the Namibian desert lies a secret that might just take you by surprise. All of a sudden, you might come across fairy circles. They are barren circles that are marked out with vegetation and grasses. The best bit? They can be anywhere from 10 to 65 feet wide. So what is crafting these incredible shapes? Fairies? Aliens?
We might never know. One theory is all thanks to the limited amount of water in the area. Grasses could be competing with one another, leaving areas of land that are too dry to grow any vegetation. Another theory is to do with termites. When two colonies meet, they often compete for the land. This results in no termite land in between.
Tianzi Mountains in China
Mountain ranges are found all across the world. Some people make it their life’s mission to make it to the top as many as possible. However, you might have to work pretty hard if you want to scale the Tianzi Mountains in China. This mountain range covers just 21 square miles. However, the mountains tower into the sky.
The second-highest peak is a whopping 1,817, but that’s nothing compared to the staggering 4,142-foot-tall highest peak. It’s believed that 300 million years ago, the mountain range was part of the ocean. The water has since disappeared and left the incredible natural formations in its wake. Sometimes, the clouds come down and surround the top of the range, making them seem even more magical.
Sơn Đoòng cave
Once you’ve seen one cave, you’ve seen them all, right? Wrong. They all have their own unique tunnels and formations depending on where they are found, and some caves are even home to a unique set of creatures. Sơn Đoòng cave is even more special than most others. It’s the largest cave in the world.
That’s just the beginning. It was first uncovered in 1990, but the hunter-gatherer that found the cave couldn’t find the entrance again for almost two decades. Once he was inside, the hunter realized that the cave is home to one of the most unique ecosystems in the world, including a river, waterfall, mountains, wind, and even its own clouds. It’s almost like a hidden world.
If you’ve looked up into the sky and wondered what all of those colors are, then the chances are you might have been lucky enough to see a fire rainbow. They are a natural phenomenon that truly looks out of this world. The sky isn’t on fire, and the rainbow hasn’t gone off on an adventure of its own.
However, it has been altered thanks to the way the sun hirs ice crystals in the clouds. There have to be very specific conditions to make sure that fire rainbows can occur. You are most likely to see them across America in the summer thanks to the angle that the sun’s rays hit the sky, while people in Europe probably won’t see one.
The red crab migration at Christmas Island
The red crab migration has been described as one of the most incredible natural migrations on Earth as around 50 million red crabs all gather across the island at one time. Roads, hills, sidewalks, and just about anything the crabs can climb soon becomes infested with millions of crustaceans. So why do they all march at one time?
That’s all thanks to the mating season. The crabs are triggered by the first rainfall of the season as they know this means they have to get to the ocean. The migration is led by male crabs before females join them. The migration can last a few weeks. However, so many of the crabs moving at once means that Christmas Island practically comes to a standstill.
It comes to something when a natural phenomenon is so vast and dominating that it earns the name “the black sun.” However, there is nothing to fear if you see this sight. They are actually thousands of starlings all moving in unison – and there are plenty of reasons that so many of them gather in the evening sky at one time.
The starlings use the safety in numbers approach as they know that predators struggle to focus on one bird in the middle of it all. The starlings also use this as a way to tell other birds about the best feeding grounds as well as keeping warm as winter starts to approach. The starlings often take to the sky just before bedtime.
Kawah Ijen lava
Volcanoes have been at the center of may terrifying tales over the years. Most of us can imagine flowing red lava making its way down the side of the volcano. So what if we told you that Kawah Ijen lava breaks all the rules? That’s because it’s blue. As if that wasn’t enough, the Kawah Ijen volcano also shoots out blue flames.
The moment happens when sulfuric gases from the volcano are super hot and meet with the air. This volcano has some of the highest levels of sulfur in the world. To make matters even scarier, while most lava can be seen in the day, blue lava is only visible at night. This really does feel like it belongs on another planet.
Fire is pretty terrifying. Tornadoes can also be scary at the best of times. When you combine the two, you have one of the rarest and most dangerous natural phenomena on the planet. It takes perfect conditions to form a fire tornado. Once they start to spin, they are almost impossible to extinguish, making them even more dangerous.
They form when a fire meets a vertical column of air. They then whop the flames up to half a mile into the air and can spin at 100mph. As if that wasn’t enough, fire tornadoes are made of a burning core that’s surrounded by flames. It’s all about dry soil conditions, low humidity, wind speeds, and temperatures to form these beasts.
If you thought that thunderstorms or volcanoes couldn’t get any worse, then be prepared to be surprised because dirty thunderstorms are a thing – and they are just as breathtaking as they sound. They occur at active volcanoes, with Sakurajima volcano in Japan being home to the most frequent dirty thunderstorms on the planet.
However, no one knows why that is. Usually, lightning is formed when ice crystals crash into one another. When a volcano erupts, the ash particles collide in the cloud instead. Lightning bolts can also form when gas is trapped in the magma. To top it off, the shockwaves from dirty thunderstorms can be enough to send things flying even when they are miles away from the volcano.
The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland
Many people believe that the Giant’s Causeway was created by giant Finn McCool was having issues with a giant from Scotland named Benandonner. Finn wanted to teach him a lesson, so he started to grab pieces of the land and throw it into the sea to create a path. It wasn’t until Finn got closer that he realized how large Benandonner was.
He turned around and ran home, where Finn’s wife disguised him as a baby. When Benandonner arrived, he figured that if Finn was that large that his father must be even bigger and left. Scientists say that the Giant’s Causeway was created 60 million years ago when lava flowed into the sea, leaving these hexagonal columns as a result.
The annual sardine run
The ocean is filled with some of the most impressive and magical creatures. The annual sardine run is one moment in the year that shows off its beauty to the max. It is the largest biomass migration on the planet, but no one is quite sure why it happens. Some researchers believe the sardines travel to find warmer water.
Others think that the fish have no choice but to swim in one great mass as the changing wind direction pulls them across the ocean. Whatever the case, the sardines attract a considerable number of predators at one time as whales, dolphins, birds, and sharks come together to feed on their mobile prey. People have even used the run to stock up on fish.
The Grand Canyon often steals most of the spotlight in Arizona, but if you look past the shining attraction of the natural wonder, then you might get to see another natural phenomenon: Antelope Canyon. The slot canyon is filled with winding paths that can be enough to confuse people and get them lost unless they know where to go.
However, this didn’t form overnight. It actually took millions of years for Antelope Canyon to form as water carefully and slowly eroded away at the rocks. Now, some of the caverns are up to 120 feet deep. If you’re really lucky, then you might get to see some of the famous light beams shine down through the rocks to the floor below.
The Eye of the Sahara
The Sahara Desert is a space that’s filled with hundreds of miles of open sand dunes. That is until you reach the Eye of the Sahara. This geological structure almost looks like a giant bullseye from above and stretches for 25 miles. For hundreds of years, only a few local tribes knew about the site. That was until people reached space.
Crews used the Eye of the Sahara to track where they were and believed they were looking at a crater site from a meteor. It wasn’t until they investigated that they realized the rocks were all formed on Earth – and are older than life. It is made from mud and dust that’s been shaped by the wind as well as volcanic sediment.
Moskstraumen in the Norwegian Sea
Sailors have many tales of their time out on the water. Some have been exaggerated. However, the Moskstraumen is real – and dangerous. It is a giant formation made up of whirlpools and tidal eddies that work together to form the strongest of its kind in the world. This one is even more peculiar thanks to its location.
Most whirlpools form in rivers or straits, whereas Moskstraumen forms out in the open sea. The whirlpools can be up to 160 feet wide and cause ripples in the water that stand over three feet tall. Many factors work together to create these pools, such as the shape of the seabed, the wind, and the tides. Even modern boats may find themselves in danger if they stray too close.
Reflective sea flats
Mirror, mirror on the floor, how come we’ve never heard about you before? The salt flats contain more than half of the world’s supply of lithium, a product that is used in electric cars, phone batteries, and computers. While they are already pretty impressive, it’s the sudden rush of water that makes them even more picturesque.
This happens when a thin layer of water gathers on the top of the salt flats and creates the largest mirror on the planet. It makes it look as though people are suspended in the middle of the sky as a result. While the flats are usually as empty as far as the eye can see, they are also home to some impressive flamboyance of flamingos, too.
Sailing stones in Death Valley
If you head out to Death Valley and look close enough, then you might be lucky enough to see a stone that looks as though it’s been walking through the desert. That’s all thanks to the trail that it’s left in its wake, but how? After all, stones don’t walk, right? It’s a puzzle that’s left many people scratching their heads.
Amazingly, it turns out the movement is all natural. Some of the rocks weigh up to 700 pounds, and no one has ever seen them move. We have only ever spotted the results. Now, it’s believed that freezing winter conditions could be to blame. Researchers believe that the freezing mud contracts and expands as it warms and cools, moving the rocks in the process.
When you think of Iceland, warm water might not be the first thing that springs to mind. However, the Blue Lagoon is a constant 102 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, making it perfect for a spa break in the great outdoors. Believe it or not, but the spring is filled with wastewater from the local power plant.
It’s completely safe and contains some nutrients that have been proven to have incredible effects on people’s skin. It has been open to the public since 1987, and thousands of people now can’t wait to take a dip in the cool blue water. The lagoon is constantly getting larger and now features a five-star hotel for those wanting to make the most out of the impressive site.
Waterspouts, often called water tornadoes, are one of the most regularly occurring natural phenomena that happen all across the planet. They are just as they sound as these impressive things are rotating column of water. Although they are commonly called tornadoes, waterspouts are different – and less destructive. It’s thought that they form when a tunnel of wind suddenly changes direction and starts to climb higher.
It’s not actually seawater that’s spinning in these tunnels but is actually a collection of water droplets instead. They were once at the heart of ancient tales as many feared waterspouts. Now, people who are lucky enough to see one often look on in awe at their size, so long as they don’t get caught up in it.
The Great Blue Hole
Most of us have heard tales about what could lie at the bottom of the ocean, but it turns out that could go deeper than we ever imagined, the Great Blue Hole is a giant sinkhole that lies off the coast of Belize. Snorkelers and scuba divers have been swimming around the surface of the hole for years, trying to build up the courage to go deeper.
A team of researchers built a submarine to look further. The first few feet showed corals, turtles, and sharks. As it reached 300 feet, life disappeared. At almost 400 feet, the submarine found stalactites. Amazingly, this shows that it was once an empty cave with little water and could have been home to all kinds of creatures.
Giant crystal cave in Mexico
You may have to look a little closer to realize the true size of the giant crystals in this Mexican cave. They’re found almost 1,000 feet underneath a mountain where they were left to grow undisturbed for at least half a million years. The cavern was once filled with water until magma pushed it upwards.
The temperatures and minerals in the cave were the perfect breeding ground for the crystals. Some of them are now more than three feet wide and can take the weight of humans who are brave enough to venture inside. Some of the largest are around 36 feet long. Although it was once used for mining, the cave is now deemed to be too dangerous.
The Flowering Desert in Chile
Deserts are dry, arid places. However, that doesn’t stop the Flowering Desert from bringing hundreds of wildflowers to life. The desert is considered to be the driest in the world. In fact, the conditions are so harsh that many researchers often use it as a place to test what living on Mars would be like. It typically only rains here every five to seven years.
When it does, it dumps all the rain that should have fallen in those years in around 12 hours. The sudden wet weather is enough to provide the perfect conditions for many wildflowers that quickly bloom across the land. While the storms bring new life, they can also be extremely dangerous for the local residents.
It can be tough to believe that some of these natural phenomena actually exist. Still, the Danxia Landform is nothing but Mother Nature showing off her incredible skills. The layers are made up of different colored minerals and sandstones that have been molded and forced together over the course of 24 million years.
They buckled up when the tectonic plates started to move, and it’s left a range that looks as though it should be straight out of a fairytale. Wind and rain have continued to carve out different areas of the rocks and bring new colors to the surface. A trip to the mountain rainbows sure does show us that magic can happen on Earth without the help of anyone else.
Eternal Flame Falls
Amazingly, you only need to head to New York to find the impressive Eternal Flame Falls. There are a handful of eternal flames around the world, but they have all been linked to a constant stream of natural gases from ancient rocks. No one has any idea why this eternal flame is still burning – and researchers have tried just about everything to find out.
It’s thought that it was first lit thousands of years ago by Native American tribes living in the area. To make it even more beautiful, this flame burns behind a flowing waterfall. Apparently, the rocks around Eternal Flame Falls are nowhere near as hot or old as other natural flames. We may never know how it’s kept burning.
Spotted Lake in Canada
Throughout the winter and spring, this lake looks just like any other in the region. That is until the summer comes and the water evaporates from the lake. In its place are hundreds of blue, green, and yellow tiny lakes that give this place the name Spotted Lake. They have gained their colors thanks to the high concentration of minerals and salt in the water.
Each pool has a different strength of each and therefore has a different color from its neighbor. It has been a sacred lake for hundreds of years as locals believe that each pool has its own healing properties. The minerals were once mined, and the water’s colors were even more vibrant before they were removed.