We don't often think about how wonderful our world really is. Working from morning to evening in the office and running home after it to try to complete everything in our endless to-do-lists, we don't even look in the sky to see the beautiful clouds in the daytime and stars at night.
No wonder that in such circumstances we forget about the numerous wonders that Mother Nature is showing us on a daily basis. We fail to see it and we forget to care about it. This is not the way our lives should be, because it will lead us straight to internal and external crises. It already did. Look at how stressful our lives are and look at what damage we're doing to Mother Nature.
To remind you about how wonderful our world is and to induce the feeling of gratitude that we should have about just being able to live in it, I would like to draw your attention to the most incredible natural phenomena on our planet.
Of course, majestic mountains and turquoise seas created by nature are wonderful and attract travelers since the inception of tourism, but nature also has much bigger and more bizarre tricks up her sleeve.
Clouds which generate up to 280 flashes of lightning an hour, white rainbows, pillars of light in the night skies, and flame which burns inside of a waterfall are just some of them.
Your world will not be the same if you decide to read this article till the end.
Fogbow is also known as ghost rainbow or white rainbow. As the name suggests, its difference with the traditional rainbow is that it appears in fog and it's white. Very much like regular rainbows, they are formed with the same configuration of moisture and sunlight. Fogbows are always opposite to the sun and happen when the air is filled with raindrops. But in contrast with classic rainbows, a fogbow appears due to the small drops inside a cloud or fog instead of large raindrops. Because of this, they are colorless.
You can catch a fogbow over the ocean when the sun breaks through fog or in a thin fog.
24 Volcanic Lightning
Wow, wow, wow! Just look at this! If I didn't know that there's such a thing as volcanic lighting or dirty lightning I wouldn't believe that this photo is real. Although it looks like a top-secret Nicola Tesla experiment gone out of control, it's actually a natural phenomenon related to large volcanic eruptions. Thunderstorms happen during the eruption because cloud ash particles collide and generate electric charges.
If you ever want to see volcanic lightning, go to Sakurajima volcano in Japan, because it's the most active volcano in the world and they happen there quite often.
23 Fire Rainbow
'Fire rainbow' is an easy way to call this extraordinary phenomenon. In the scientific world, its called a circumhorizontal arc. Let's leave it to scientists and just call it fire rainbows. Actually, the only thing that this celestial occurrence has to do with the rainbow is colors and it's not related to fire in any way, too. It occurs in mid-latitudes when the sun has risen higher than 58° in the sky.
You will be very lucky if you ever see a fire rainbow. You only have a tiny chance to see it in the middle of summer in Los Angeles. Send us some photos if you do.
22 Bioluminescent Waves
It's much easier to see bioluminescent waves than to spot fire rainbow or volcanic lightning. This blue glow can be seen only at night and it's produced by living organisms named algal blooms. The more you disturb these guys the more they glow, so if you take a boat trip at night your boat will light up like a Christmas tree.
Here's the list of locations where you can spot this phenomenon: Europe – Norfolk (UK). Zeebrugge (Belgium), USA – Cortez (FL), Manasquan Beach (NJ), Mission Bay (San Diego, CA), Australia – Gippsland Lakes, Asia – Toyama Bay (Japan), Bali (Indonesia), Halong Bay (Vietnam), Ton Sai (Krabi, Thailand).
The Guinness Book of World Records defines Mosquito Bay in Puerto Rico as the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world.
21 Light Pillars
"Knock, knock! We come from Alpha Centauri and we are landing on Earth to find out how you little humans are doing there."
If you, like me, thought of aliens the first time you saw this picture than I can easily understand you. But these white lines in the sky have nothing to do with aliens. This breathtaking natural phenomenon is known as light pillars. The effect is created by the reflection of light from many little ice crystals suspended in the clouds or atmosphere. When light (from any source) hits the tiny ice crystals in the air, these pillars are formed.
Just like northern lights, light pillars appear during the cold winter nights. But in contrast with northern lights which require no light pollution, light pillars need the light of the street lamps (then they take an orange color) or moon (then they take a white color).
Interestingly, these pillars can be seen during the daytime and in this case, they are formed due to the sunlight and are called sun pillars. Sun pillars have orange or rosy red hues.
20 Fly Geyser
It would be unfair to call this a natural phenomenon because it's a collaboration between nature and human or a collision between natural geothermal pressure and human error. Fly Geyser is located in the middle of Nevada Desert and was accidentally created in 1964 after the test drill for water. During the drill, a geothermal boiling water was hit which eventually led to a formation of this beautiful red-green geyser.
It was closed for public for a long time, but in 2018 it started to accept visitors once again.
19 Mammatus Cloud
We'll take a look at four spectacular types of clouds in this article and we start with Mammatus cloud. I wouldn't be surprised if you thought that this image was photoshopped. Well, as a photo-editor I can admit that it was photoshopped in terms of contrast, color and details, but the form of clouds, which is the most mind-bending element of this photo, wasn't modified. This bubble-like sky formation is created from various kinds of ice crystals in clouds that stretch to hundreds of kilometers. Although these clouds are very beautiful they are a sign that the storm or extreme weather is coming.
18 The Salar
Ever wanted to step on the cloud or walk on water? You have a chance to do it if you visit the Salat de Uyuni (or The Salar), the most famous salt lake in the world. It's a place where a thick crust of salt reaches the horizon in all directions. During certain periods of the year, salt turns into a huge and magnificent reflection of the sky.
The landscape is also home to the world's first salt hotel which is made entirely of salt. Getting to this otherworldly place is not easy at all so it can turn to either an unforgettable experience or a logistical nightmare or a mixture of both.
17 Sun Halo
When people saw this phenomenon in the Middle Ages they probably fell on the ground thinking that it's God's eye watching them and He will soon come to Earth to punish them for their sins. But in the age of science, we know that it's a natural phenomenon. This understanding shouldn't lower the degree of awe though, because no matter the reason for its occurrence, it looks truly bedazzling.
The nature of sun halos is close to the nature of fire rainbows because they also require the right formation of ice crystals in clouds high above the Earth's surface to bend light from the sun into a perfect ring.
If this phenomenon happens at night due to the moonlight and cold weather, its called a moon halo. In contrast with colorful sun rainbows, moon halos are white.
16 Eye of the Sahara
It's a mysterious formation in the Sahara desert which is still studied by the scientists as they try to find out how exactly it came into being. Their most probable guess is that it's the eroded remains of a giant dome of the rock. They suggest that each ring was made with a different type of rock which eroded at a different speed. This formation is difficult to recognize when you walk over it because it's huge. We know about it thanks to Florida astronauts who have first seen it from space. Take a look at how it is seen from above.
Looks epic, isn't it? And what if it's a mark of a blow from a powerful blaster made tens of thousands of years ago during the intergalactic war? Just kidding.
15 Lenticular Clouds
Another cloud formation which looks surreal is a lenticular cloud. I'm sure some people thought that UFOs are landing when they saw it first.
These types of clouds appear in highland places like hills or mountains. They occur when the wave of powerful wind flow moves toward the mountain and is then being “trapped” in the humid air. Then the large cloud layers, called 'lenticular clouds', are formed. The form that you see in the photo of Mount Fuji in Japan is just one of the possible forms which 'lenticular clouds' can take.
14 Aurora Borealis
This offbeat natural phenomenon is a lot more popular than most of the incredible and rare occurrences listed in the article, but nevertheless, this list wouldn't be that cool if I didn't include northern lights.
Also known as aurora borealis, this phenomenon occurs in Earth's ionosphere as a result of the planet’s magnetic field interacting with charged particles emitted by the sun. The light of aurora borealis can be blue, red, green and orange. Whatever the color, if you see it once, it will make you speechless.
If you want to find out more about northern lights and where to see it, read my article dedicated to the aurora borealis.
13 Fire Tornado
I wish this thing wasn't real, but unfortunately, fire tornado or a fire whirl, or fire devil is something that people encounter sometimes. It's a whirlwind induced by a fire which usually occurs when turbulent wind conditions and intense rising heat combine. The whirling eddies which are formed as a result of this dangerous combination can further evolve into a fire vortex that sucks in burning debris and combustible gases.
Even though they look like tornadoes, considering their nature, it would be more appropriate to call hem vortexes, because of differences between tornado's and vortex's nature. No matter how you call it, I hope you will never encounter this deadly thing in your life.
12 Cloud Tsunami
This is both beautiful and horrifying. Yes, it's just a cloud, but if you started praying by just looking at it I wouldn't blame you. The cloud tsunami that you see on the picture was captured in Australia. Luckily for us, humans, in contrast with real tsunamis, cloud ones only threaten us with heavy rains, strong winds, and loud thunderstorms.
I will not describe how these cloud formations come into being because you need to hold a doctor's degree in Meteorology to understand it. Really, it looks like a senseless combination of smart words.
11 Frost Flowers
Frost flower is not something that you can easily find on a frosty winter morning. They are usually formed in the late autumn or early winter in the morning when ice in extremely thin layers is pushed out from the plants' stems. It leads to the formations of folding and curling frost patterns of incredible beauty. Once the temperature of the air increases the frost flowers disappear. Just like our lives there to be cherished while they last so that we have no regrets when the time to disappear comes.
10 Supercell Storms
Looks like a poster for a new apocalyptic movie, doesn't it? In fact, this surreal phenomenon is known as a supercell storm. It's a kind of thunderstorm which combines with a mesocyclone. Among the four types of thunderstorms, this is the least common and it has the potential to be the most damaging and severe. The only good thing about supercells in addition to the stunning photos that you can shoot if you make it alive out of a storm is that they don't last that long.
The most common places for the occurrence of supercells are the Great Planes of the United States (Tornado Alley), the Tornado Corridor of Argentina, Uruguay and southern Brazil.
9 Colored Mountains
Let's take a break from dangerous things such as supercell storms and fire tornadoes and take a look at beautifully colored mountains in China. They are located in Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park in China and also several other places in China.
They look more like a painting. And they are really the work of art, but the work of God's or nature's creative genius. It took nature more than 24 million years to create this masterpiece. During this mind-boggling period of time, the layers of different colored minerals and sandstones were pressed together to be then buckled up by tectonic plates and turn into this incredible technicolor sight.
8 Frozen Bubbles Lake
These frozen bubbles is a very beautiful but also a very strange natural phenomenon which you can see in Abraham Lake, Alberta, Canada. These frozen bubbles are made of flammable gas methane and it can explode if lit. These methane bubbles were formed because organic matter stored in the lake's bottom began to thaw and microbes decomposed it, releasing methane. Instead of dissolving into water, methane formed bubbles which rose to the surface and froze because of the weather conditions. During the summertime methane bubbles just rise to the surface, pop and enter the atmosphere. In winter bubbles become trapped again forming the incredible sight which attracts tens of thousands of people from all around the world.
7 Black Sun
Looks like the end of the world or the sign of end-time prophecies fulfillment. But there's nothing scary about this dark cloud because it's a mass of starlings. When they gather in hundreds or thousands they form an incredible black moving cloud which is officially called murmuration and unofficially nicknamed 'black sun'.
Black sun can be seen in the US and Europe and you have especially high chances to see it in England. Although the choreography of birds which looks impressive and mind-boggling is limited to a couple of moves, these moves are enough to make your jaw drop.
6 Eternal Flame Falls
This waterfall near the Canadian border in upstate New York is small but it is remarkable not for its size but for a shoot of fire that never extinguishes. Well, almost never.
The secret behind this surprising phenomenon is a natural gas seep which is located behind the waterfall and it feeds the flame. So it remains lit on a daily basis in a little shelter created by the waterfall. If hikers see that it was blown out, they can just re-light it.
A rare case when water and fire co-exist.