ENTERTAINMENT
Five natural phenomena that will blow your mind!

These natural occurrences are so breathtaking, they will leave you stunned! From glowing stars at your feet to cotton wool balls floating in ice, these are all kinds of awesome! The pictures don’t do justice – you have to witness them to really understand them.

Flammable ice bubbles

Image: buzzfeed.com

Making for an incredible sight, these look like fluffy cotton balls trapped in ice! The phenomenon takes place in Lake Abraham, Alberta. They are actually bubbles of methane frozen under water. The gas is extremely flammable, but, thankfully, the bubbles are not known to cause any harm even when they escape the water as the lake thaws. When organic matter – such as leaves or animals that drown in the lake – reach the bottom, the bacteria at the bottom of the lake feeds on them, producing methane in the process.

Sailing stones

Image: monatomic-orme.com

Yes, the stones crawl across the desert, on their own! No one has ever seen them move physically, but it is easy to track the inexplicable movement by the trail they leave on the barren, cracked land. Some of these are as heavy as 700 pounds and some of the tracks are about 600 ft long! While many like to believe that the rocks posses magic, scientists suggest they become frozen in ice during the winter. Later, as the ice melts and the lake bed becomes muddy, the rocks begin to float, and the strong desert winds easily blow them around.

Lenticular clouds

Image: thelivingmoon.com

Lenticular clouds are stationary clouds that are shaped as discs, and generally form at high altitudes. Because of their saucer-like appearance, they tend to be mistaken for UFO sightings! When moist air blowing along the surface of the earth is obstructed, it ends up resulting in these clouds – sometime just one, sometimes in layers, making for quite a spectacle! Mt Rainier in the US and Mt Olympus in Greece are some famous sites to spot these clouds.

Bioluminescent waves

Image: nationalgeographic.com

As if a million glowing stars or glittery jewels have been washed ashore, this phenomenon occurs courtesy of phytoplankton. When the microscopic marine organisms are brought to the shores by the tides, their chemical energy is turned into light energy that causes the bioluminescence – the brilliant blue glow. Toyama Bay in Japan and beaches in the Maldives are some places that witness this beautiful sight.

Penitentes

Image: summitpost.org

These are long spikes of ice, resembling the “processions of white-hooded monks”. Generally found on mountain glaciers, they are formed when the sun’s rays cause small chasms on the snow. These become deep troughs soon, separated by peaks of ice between them. The spikes can be anything from a few centimetres to five metres in height, with sharp blades of hardened snow jutting out.

Natural Phenomena