Nature has an amazing way of surprising us at every turn, leaving a lot for experts to explain. As the tendency to get too attached to the modern world rises, the natural world does its part in pulling everybody back by showing that indeed, there are some things that only nature can do best.
Here are five natural phenomena that leave the world fascinated and spellbound:
Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis
Who could miss this spectacular light show? The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) and the Southern Lights (Aurora Australis) are seen just above the northern and southern hemispheres’ magnetic poles. Commonly appearing in hues of green and pink, it also showcases shades of red, blue, yellow, and violet at times. The streaks of light may appear as arcs, ripples, rays, and other forms. This striking occurrence is caused when highly charged electrons from the solar winds and elements from the earth’s atmosphere interact.
Sailing stones, also known as sliding rocks or moving rocks, remain to baffle experts, without any clear and confirmed cause to the phenomenon. These rocks move around smooth valley floors every two or three years, forming long tracks that prove their movement. The direction and length at which they travel vary, with different rocks moving or stopping randomly regardless of their similarities or differences in shape and size. The phenomenon has been subject for research since the early 1900’s, and can be observed in different locations like Little Bonnie Clair Playa in Nevada and Racetrack Playa, Death Valley National Park in California.
Also known as fire whirls or fire tornadoes, fire devils occur when whirling eddies of air are formed due to a combination of intense heat and turbulent wind conditions. Having a similar appearance as a tornado, it sucks in burning debris and combustible gases. This spinning vortex of flame can reach temperatures of up to 2,000⁰F within its core, usually 1 to 3 feet wide and 50 to 100 feet tall.
Fire Rainbows are only called as such because of the splash of different colors across its flame-like form. However, the stunning sight is neither borne from fire or rainbows. Scientifically, fire rainbows are circumhorizontal arcs, ice halos that are formed by ice crystals that are hexagonal in shape in high level cirrus clouds. There are specific conditions at which these can be formed and observed. The sun’s elevation should be at a 58⁰ angle or higher, with the combined presence of plate shaped ice crystals and high altitude cirrus clouds. The sunlight also has to strike the ice crystals at a very specific angle to form the overall effect.
Anyone who sees these column-like structures would think that these are man-made. These are formed when lava flow cools quickly, leaving behind averagely distributed hexagonal structures. Some of the most famous formations are Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, Cliff of Stone Plates in Vietnam, Frooba in The Faroese Islands, and Prismas Basalticos in Mexico.