The internet thrives on photos of strange occurrences that are often unexplained, right? While much of what you see online might very well be unexplainable, many seemingly unexplainable phenomena may have perfectly reasonable, scientific explanations. It seems like 2018 was the year of strange happenings and many things were initially a mystery until proper physics and biology came in to provide some basis for what the world was seeing. While there are unexplainable happenings that we consider to be a "miracle" or just simply a science blunder, this year saw many things that were unusual, yes, but eventually explainable.
From underwater art to cloud formations that appear to be unnatural, science has an answer for most of them and so do we. It's fun to believe that these things have no possible way of making sense in the world of formulas and theories, but it's true -- Nature is the greatest power in the physical world and as such, produces some intense phenomena. We've taken a virtual recount of all the things that this year saw that were crazy, weird, and visually stunning so that we could provide an explanation for each. There are times when science won't be able to fill in the blanks...But not on this list.
22 Underwater Crop Circles... Aliens Or Strange Fish?
This is one that plenty of people have seen circulating the internet, along with a video that finally surfaced when an explanation came through. Although it seemed like some sort of underwater alien that created this crop circle, similar to what we've seen appear mysteriously in corn fields, it was soon revealed that a fish was responsible. A pufferfish in Japan, to be exact! These fish were responsible for creating elaborate sand designs that sit undisturbed at the bottom of the ocean floor.
21 Who Knew That Glaciers Could Bleed
This was a rather disturbing sight for local boat-goers in Antarctica as they stumbled upon a glacier that was seemingly leaking what looked like blood. The perceived gore had a perfectly scientific explanation that's understandable through the laws of basic chemistry. Rather than the glacier being injured, the rust-coloring of its streaks were caused by salt water that was naturally tainted by iron oxide. This chemical reaction caused the blood-red coloring and produced a pretty wild effect. However, it is pretty striking in the case for global warming.
20 That Time Arachnophobia Came To Life And We Were Horrified
This was one that made the entire world cringe at once. Well, everyone except for spider lovers, that is! Pakistan is known for having some strange and intense weather and their recent flooding caused quite a few problems not just for humans, but for wildlife as well. One of those affected was the arachnids we all love and hate simultaneously, who took to the trees to avoid the floodwaters. It's nerve-wracking but serves as a perfect example of how nature constantly adapts to change.
19 A Green Flash In The Sky Must Mean UFOs
Not many people have been witness to this type of sunset. While many of us are very familiar with the traditional colors of orange, yellow, red, and even purple, that the sun throws when it sets, few know that green is also part of that color range. This is easily explained through light refraction and as the sun sets and goes through a color transition, a burst of green can be seen during those short few seconds. It's all about how light is perceived through the naked eye and where the sun is sitting in proportion to the horizon.
18 Lenticular Clouds Are Not Normal Moutain Clouds
Watching the clouds float in over the mountaintops is an incredible experience that makes you realize just how massive and vast a summit can be. It's humbling in a sense and sometimes, even the clouds bend to suit the will of a mountain peak. These are called lenticular clouds and they throw off the appearance of a cloud "dome" hovering over the summit of a mountain. These clouds can appear anyway and occasionally have a pancake or tube-shaped appearance but are usually formed when air rises up and condenses. Alternately, they can be a product of wind shear from a weather front. The strangest thing is that they're stationary, which gives them the "hat" effect.
17 Can You Imagine A 160-Day Storm? Venezuelans Can
Ready to have your mind blown? The Cataumbo is the longest storm in the world, lasting 140-160 days annually in Venezuela. This monster storm produces up to 280 lightning strikes per day and lasts for roughly ten hours, per day. The storm centers itself over Lake Maracaibo and towers far higher than most typical thunderstorms. They say that lightning doesn't strike in the same place twice, but that doesn't mean storms won't gather in the same place, multiple times.
16 The "Black Sun" In Denmark Is Actually Hundreds Of Birds
It's hard to believe that so many birds could actually cause a blackout-type effect but it's true, Denmark sees it every year. What seems like something out of the famous Hitchcock film The Birds is actually the natural migration pattern of thousands of starlings. It's been referred to as one of the most "magnificent" natural phenomena you can witness as it's amazing that a scale of this many birds flocks to one location simultaneously. It's referred to as Sort Sol in Denmark and lasts roughly 20 minutes, during which the sky appears much, much darker than usual.
15 Deserts Aren't Always Dry And Barren, Not This Year, Anyway
Deserts aren't always hot and isolated considering at one point, many of them did hold a plethora of water and diverse wildlife. The Flowering Desert in Chile is one of those that seems something akin to Death Valley but holds a surprising secret. Depending on the amount of rainwater that portion of Chile sees in a year, the desert can transform completely. Where sand and dry mountains once stood, following plenty of rainstorms, visitors might return to see blooming bushes and magnificent flora and fauna. It's a reminder that everyone has the potential to bloom and become something beautiful.
14 The Great Big Hole In Belize Is Great For Divers, Not So Great For Everyone Else
It's the biggest hole in the world and has been rumored as a diver's paradise and trust us, it's seen plenty of those this year. The Great Big Hole in Belize is appropriately named, as it descends 410 feet down into the earth, producing a massive, seemingly endless, hole underwater. It's part of the Barrier Reed system of Belize and is surrounded by crystal-clear tropical waters which is what draws experienced divers to its location. Simply explained, this chasm is a result of fault lines, similar to many other sea floor drop-offs in the surrounding area.
13 As If Volcanic Eruptions Weren't Scary Enough, Here's A Volcanic Lightning Storm
It can happen and it's quite scary. Chile sees its fair share of natural, yet seemingly unexplainable, events, and volcanic thunderstorms are one of them. When a volcano erupts, it becomes a volatile and unstoppable force. Occasionally, if the conditions are just perfect, energy in the atmosphere can lead to a charge that comes from the bottom and produces energy at the top. This rains back down in a monster thunderstorm that's fueled by the eruption and affected by the conditions in the atmosphere. Stay far, far away from these.
12 Fallstreak Holes Look Like A Divine Intervention
These are relatively common in the U.S. but can really be seen anywhere. A Fallstreak Hole occurs when conditions in the atmosphere at the cloud-level produce "holes" due to the release of moisture content. In these "holes" you can often witness a tiny rainbow if the conditions are just right, leading to a break in the cloud formation that's filled with light and color. They're a pretty, yet explainable, phenomenon.
11 Rocks Move On Their Own In Death Valley
Death Valley is a strange and occasionally eerie place. Not much thrives there unless it's built to survive in the desert which is what makes this event even stranger. If your timing is on point, you can find yourself in the desert watching rocks move on their own. This isn't because they've suddenly come alive and are living, breathing things -- It's due to an unimaginably thin layer of ice that remains on the ground and allows the rocks to seemingly "propel" themselves along the ground as it dissipates. Weird, but fairly simple.
10 The Indian Ocean Glows Brighter Than The Stars Sometimes
This glowing effect is also called "milky seas" and still has scientists somewhat baffled as to what actually produces it. The explanation they've penciled in is due to the bioluminescence of dinoflagellates that throw the unique glowing color. It's intense, to say the least, and though this explanation is one the biology world floats as accurate, there's no definitive proof that this bacteria has the capacity to produce such a glow. Considering it can be seen from space, you have to wonder what it is that can turn the sea so bright at night.
9 "Hair Ice" Was A Thing, And It Was Weird
It's kind of gross-sounding but it's also really, really cool. "Hair ice" is what happens when water freezes at just the right temperature and in just the right environment to produce long, thin strands of ice. These strands often form together and have a similar appearance to hair although they're pure white and shiny. It's a stunning creation from nature and something that isn't seen often, yet does happen in the outdoor conditions allow it.
8 Methane Can Freeze And In Alaska, It's Concerning
This is something that has scientists somewhat concerned due to the pressure buildup under the frozen tundra that is Alaska much of the time. These bursts of methane become trapped under the surface and frozen in time as the waters in Alaska freeze, thus causing all natural release to become suspended. When the ice begins thawing, all of that methane is released, producing some serious gas that is slightly worrisome. Who would have thought that the same gas that comes out of cows is found naturally underwater in Alaska?
7 Whirlpools Are, Indeed, Real, And Happening This Year
This year has seen some strange things and whirlpools are one of them... That's right, they're not just from all those stories you read about Cthulu. In real life, they're called maelstroms and although they're fascinating to look at, they can also be incredibly dangerous. The pull of these is very real and has the capacity to sink boats and will draw in anything that's bobbing on the surface, as their pull is unbelievably strong. Steer clear of these if you do happen to spot one.
6 These Rainbow Trees Have Not Been Painted
You'll only find trees this intensely colored in the Southern Hemisphere, in nonother than Australia. When this species of eucalyptus sheds its outer layers, a bright green layer can be seen underneath. As time passes, this layer begins to change in color which results in the bright neons that you often find on the "outside" of this brilliant species. It really is as simple as that -- With the right temperature and environmental conditions, this tree has the ability to feature an incredibly vibrant array of color.
5 Horsetail Falls Is Otherworldly Only One Day A Year
This year saw its blaze of glory as well, complete with all the gold splendor that Horsetail always reflects. Horsetail Falls seems like your typical waterfall any other time of the year except in February when it's completely transformed. One day of the year, this magnificent waterfall is hit by a ray of sunlight that hits that spot on earth at just the right angle to make it appear as though gold is falling rather than water. It's a sight to behold and has only been captured by those lucky enough to visit Yosemite and time their cameras perfectly.
4 The Crooked Forest Of Poland Is Still Unexplained
This is one that hasn't been researched too much as it's doing no harm and doesn't really need an explanation. The Crooked Forest is a neat travel destination in Poland, as all of its trees have grown at extreme angles and seem to be "crooked". It's rumored that this happened as a natural defense against a sandstorm, but plenty of natives have other explanations as well. Regardless of how this forest was formed, it's definitely like something out of Alice in Wonderland.
3 Antarctica's Frozen Waves Are A Sight To Behold
Yet another occurrence that happens every year, Antarctic is uninhabitable but is practically a frozen work of art. The northernmost part of the hemisphere freezes so rapidly that even waves get caught in the deep freeze, which is then frozen in time, serving as aqua-colored walls. While it's a bit nerve-wracking to be standing in front of one of these monstrous icicles, it's humbling to see what nature can truly do when the temperature is just right.