Those who live in big cities often forget about the majesty of nature and about its role in our life. Basically, because it exists we can also exist. We are made of the same elements that this Earth is made of and when we perish, Earth takes them back and redistributes.
Some people think that they are 'in control' of nature and of everything that surrounds us, and sometimes we see headlines like 'people are conquering outer space'. If we take a closer look at these things and remove the veil of ignorance, we will clearly see that we owe everything we have to nature, we aren't in control of it and we're not conquerors, but explorers.
An eruption of Yellowstone is enough to wipe mankind out, so about which conquering feats or mastery can we talk about? In order to remind you of the majesty and power of nature we have gathered 15 phenomena on the sea and 10 phenomena on land which demonstrate its might. All these incredible natural happenings should remind us of, on one hand, wisdom, beauty and on the other hand, of dangers that Mother Nature possesses. Some the things on the list are explained, some of them are still covered in mystery, but certainly, all of them show us that we can't afford to forget the role which nature plays in our lives.
25 Sea: Waterspouts
Contrary to what you may think by looking at this photo, a waterspout is not made out of the water. They are just weak rotating columns of air over water. Although in most cases they are much weaker than land tornadoes, the ones which are spawned by mesocyclones can get really strong,
Waterspouts usually happen in tropical and subtropical areas, but due to climate change, they started to form in other parts of the world. Following the link, you can see a huge waterspout near Italian island.
24 Sea: Steaming Black Sea
The phenomenon of steaming black sea, also known as sea smoke is a steam that arises out of Black Sea due to the oceanic water's humidity interacting with the coolness of wind over the surface of the water.
Although this phenomenon is called Steaming Black Sea it's not the feature that the only Black Sea has. Experts proved that it is also quite common for other water bodies like oceans, other seas, and even lakes as well if the air above its surface is sufficiently cold.
23 Sea: Red Tide
What is known as the 'red tide' phenomenon is usually called 'algae blooming' by scientists. As you may have already guessed it happens when algae rapidly grow in oceanic waters. It makes look menacing to some and appealing to others, but the fact is that red tide can be fatally dangerous to birds, animals, and even humans.
The best-known algae blooming occurs almost every summer along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Red tide is so toxic that it can even make the air around it difficult to breathe.
22 Sea: Brinicle
All of us have surely seen icicles on buildings and tree branches, but only a few people know that icicles can also form beneath the ocean. The underwater icicles are known as brinicles and they are also sometimes referred to as 'sea stalactites' and even 'icicles of death' because they freeze everything that touches them including starfish, sea urchins, and other sea life representatives.
Brinicles are long tubes of ice formed underwater and shooting downward as they freeze. They get frozen so fast that it can be observed in real time.
21 Sea: Glaucus Atlanticus
Incredible sea phenomena include living beings because they also often get so bizarre that we have to see them believe that they exist. This blue little wonder has many names. In the scientific world it is known as 'Glaucus atlanticus' and for the average man, they are known as blues sea slugs, sea swallows or blue angels.
They are small sea slugs that have a great camouflage system. Their blue side faces upward and blends with the blue color of water and their silver side face downward and blend with the surface of the sea. In case it isn't enough to avoid creatures that want to eat, the blue angel has a venomous sting which can create troubles even to humans.
20 Sea: Green Flash
The green flash is not a Marvel superhero, but a strange phenomenon that can be observed over the ocean during the sunrise and sunset. The sunlight gets diverged into several colors which can be seen as the green flash above the water. This phenomenon has a ghostly nature because it can be observed for only a couple of seconds.
Green flashes don't occur every day, but only when the conditions are right. In rare cases, the green flash takes a form of green ray shooting up from sunrise or sunset point.
19 Sea: Fata Morgana
A ship flying above the water is quite spooky, right? Only if you don't know how to explain it and believe in pirate zombies. Basically, Fata Morgana is a form of mirage that appears in the sky above the distant horizon. It happens because of layers of air having different temperatures create a refracting lens and considerably enlarge or distort the actual image. This is how you can see a giant ship sailing in the clouds.
This phenomenon can be seen in places where you can watch a long distance without any visual intrusions (deserts, oceans, polar regions etc).
18 Sea: Convergence of Baltic and North Seas
This bizarre oceanic phenomenon can be observed in the province of Skagen, Denmark where Baltic and North seas are converged. The seawater remains separate in spite of convergence because the densities of sea waters are very different. The salinity of North sea is ~35%, which is an average for waters of the oceans, while the salinity of the Baltic sea is ~12%, which is what makes the sea merge impossible.
Interestingly this ocean was mentioned in the Koran, the holy book of Muslim people.
17 Sea: Underwater Crop Circles
Looks like a message from aliens or underwater civilization, right? While this underwater drawing might look mysterious it's origins are rather hilarious than otherworldly.
In fact, these beautiful crop circles are created by a little puff fish. Male fish makes it attract females, so if the form won't be accurate enough the ladyfish won't be impressed. If she is impressed though, the couple lays their eggs in the center of the drawing, while the riffles protect eggs from ocean currents.
16 Sea: Maelstrom
The younger brother of the maelstrom is a whirlpool. A phenomenon which is produced by the meeting of opposite currents and which in most cases isn't very powerful. Maelstroms, which are more powerful occur in oceans and seas and there are quite a few stories when small ships were sucked into maelstroms.
Although maelstroms are dangerous, their power is often overstated in fictions books and even history and it is unlikely that they can suck up big ships. However, if you ever see a huge maelstrom sucking up a giant ship, drop us a note!
15 Sea: Bioluminescence
I don't know if you have noticed but the word 'bioluminescence' consists of words 'bio' and 'luminescence'. The latter stands for the glittering effect and the former let us know that this effect is produced by marine living creatures. Interestingly, the light is produced by sea creatures as a defense mechanism (when waves crash or boat moves). Chemicals of creature's body interact with atmospheric oxygen and result in the bioluminescent light.
In case you want to witness this phenomenon yourself, it is advised to go to the Mosquito Bay at Vieques island because this place is known as the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world.
14 Sea: Baltic Sea Anomaly
This mysterious object was accidentally discovered by diving experts in 2011 on the bottom of the Baltic Sea. There was a 300-meter track to this entity which divers followed until they discovered it.
There were many theories about what it can be and of course certain conspiracy theorists suggested their versions including crashed UFOs and lost civilization. In 2017 it was finally identified that this object is just a glacial deposit.
“This structure was formed during the Ice Age many thousands of years ago," says Volker Brüchert, an associate professor of geology at Stockholm University.
13 Sea: Ice Circles
Look what a beautiful phenomenon it is! Until recently these perfectly round formations which appeared etched into frozen ponds, lakes and rivers puzzled scientists. They were first spotted in Russia and were later seen in parts of the United States in Canada and Scandinavia.
Scientists think that ice circles can be attributed to warm water underneath the ice which melts the surface into an ideal-shape circle. According to Live Science:
"Methane emissions can create a rising mass of warm water that begins swirling in a circular pattern because of the Coriolis force, or the phenomenon caused by the Earth's rotation that also helps create cyclones."
12 Sea: Rogue Wave
This is the most dangerous and horrifying water phenomena on the list. For a long time, they were considered a myth because it's very difficult to track them and because they don't occur often. They come out of nowhere and very quickly grow huge, sometimes reaching the size of a ten-story building. For this reason, sailors call them 'walls of water'.
And these are not just 'sailor's tales', rogue waves are a hard fact. Scientists analyzed 30,000 satellite images in three weeks during 2003, and they have identified 10 rogues waves which reached 25 meters or more.
11 Sea: Halitrephes Jelly
Seas and oceans are home to many things which are still unknown to us because we still haven't studied the dark blue depths of our planet. One of the spectacular living organisms which were discovered by the Exploration Vessel Nautilus recently is Halitrephes Jelly. It was spotted at 1225 meters below sea level in the Revillagigedo Archipelago off Baja California, Mexico.
Looks like an underwater firework, isn't it? Let's hope that Exploration Vessel Nautilus will bring us more incredible pictures of bizarre underwater creatures, like Halitrephes Jelly, or this Purple Orb.
10 Land: Volcanic Lightning
It's not Mount Doom where Sauron's ring from Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' epic trilogy was forged. It's a volcanic lightning or dirty lightning over one of Earth's volcanoes captured in a very dramatic moment.
And if a rogue wave is one of the most dramatic phenomena in water, then volcanic lightning is one of the most menacing phenomena on land. It is formed when magma bursts our of surface's weak points with plenty of ash and soot. Cloud ash particles collide and generate volcanic lightning.
9 Land: Supercell
This thing looks no less menacing! Supercell is a very strong thunderstorm accompanied by mesocyclone which is rotating updraft. It is also known as rotating thunderstorm and it can dominate local weather up to 33 kilometers. Although supercells don't last more than 4 hours, they are quite severe, so if you were inspired by their beauty it's better to look at the pictures than to chase the actual supercells.
Supercells can occur in different parts of the world but they are most common in southern Brazil, Tornado Alley in the United States and Torando Corridor in Argentina.
8 Land: Dust Storms
Dust storms are no less horrifying than supercell thunderstorms, even though they are of a different nature. A dust storm is common for semi-arid and arid regions and they occur when a strong wind blows dirt and sand from a huge dry surface.
The most common places to encounter sandstorms are Arabian peninsula and drylands around North Africa. Because of mankind's careless attitude to planet's drylands, dust storms are getting bigger in size and more dangerous in terms of damage to both local economies and individual households.
7 Land: Sinkholes
What you see on the photo above is a notorious sinkhole in Guatemala which appeared in 2010. It was a disaster in which a 20-meter hole was formed after the sudden collapse of land and a three-story factory which was standing on it. This sinkhole appeared due to the combination of man-made and natural factors.
Sinkholes can be found all around the planet and in most cases they are caused by karst processes. They can be as little as 1 meter and as huge as 600 meters both in depth and diameter.
6 Land: Ice Storm
The look of the city after the ice-storm is mind-bending, bizarre and funny, but the ice storm itself and its consequences for people are not funny at all because everything that you touch is covered in ice. Basically, an ice storm is a freezing rain which freezes everything that it touches. Interestingly, from 1982 to 1994, ice storms were more common than blizzards in the United States.
During the ice storm, ice can increase the weight of branches up to 30 times so you should be careful and watch yourself if you're walking the street after the ice storm.
5 Land: Extreme Heat Wave
A heat wave is a weather condition that often occurs in oceanic climate counties and is characterized by the periods of extremely hot weather with high humidity.
Heat waves have devastating results. The ones which have already troubled us, have caused deaths from hyperthermia, crop failures, power outages because of excessive air conditioning and other dire consequences. Modern forecasting instruments allow to identify heat waves and give warning calls to people so that they can prepare themselves and take precautions. You can take a look at the list of precautions here.
4 Land: Sailing Stones
Sailing stone is a phenomenon that puzzled scientists for years. Just think for yourself. How can a stone move through the desert without any external help? That's the question that pops up in mind when people look at the photo of sailing stones with a trail behind them.
Well, the curious mind understands that there should be something that moves it, even if it looks totally mysterious. In 2013 Ralph Lorenz explained that sailing rock is a part of 'small floating ice sheet' which moves together with the rock, so when the ice sheet thaws, all you see is a rock with a trail.
3 Land: Spider-Web Fields
That certainly looks creepy. And it's not an episode from the horror movie, but a photo of a field in New Zealand which was covered in a 30-meter spider web. It happened due to the heavy downpour which made spiders search shelter on higher grounds. Thousands of spiders built this huge web just to save themselves from unfavorable weather conditions.
Similar cases happened in Pakistan, Southern Australia, and Tasmania. On one hand it shows us how smart spiders are and on the other hand, it can easily freak-out anyone who doesn't know what it's all about.
2 Land: Landslide
Landslide is another natural phenomenon that does a lot of harm and which is difficult to predict. Defined as a movement of earth, debris or rock down a slope it can destroy roads and buildings in seconds.
Landslides happen due to materials' failure to make up the hill slope and are driven by the force of gravity. They can also occur underwater and in this case, they are called submarine landslides. Even though gravity plays a major role in a landslide it requires a trigger to be released.
1 Land: Frozen Tsunami
Doesn't it look phantasmagorical? We've already seen the consequences of an ice storm, but a frozen tsunami looks like a completely different planet. In fact, it can be called a different planet because it's possible only in Antarctica and for most of us Antarctica is really like another planet.
Also known as frozen waves, its images were taken by the by scientist Tony Travouillon who decided to show us a giant wave which just froze as it was breaking the 'snowy beach'.
All these 25 phenomena show us that nature holds a lot of surprises and that we should treat it with proper respect and never forget its role in our lives.