The Craziest Natural Phenomena You’ve Never Heard About

There are quite a few things natural phenomena that everyone’s heard of. Rainbows, tornadoes, the Northern Lights, each one fantastical in their own way. However, there’s quite a few that nobody’s ever heard of. And some of them you wouldn’t believe existed unless you saw them yourself.

Underwater Crop Circles

For years, scientists were unable to find out what made these bizarre shapes on the sea floor. But now we do. As it turns out, these shapes are made by male pufferfish trying to entice females for mating. They’re quite interesting to look at. Certainly disturbing the pufferfish’s hard work would make the perpetrator feel awful.

Volcanic Lightning

Lightning from a volcano sounds pretty farfetched, but it’s certainly real. Also known as a “dirty thunderstorm”, volcanic lightning occurs when volcanic rock, ash, and other materials in a volcanic plume collide. The friction, as with ice crystals in a storm cloud, causes electric charges. Ultimately, this causes lightning to shoot up into the sky.

Singing Sand

It requires specific circumstances, such as the grains being round, the right humidity, and the presence of silica, but sand can sing. It can either be by the wind blowing over sand dunes or by people walking over them. The sounds they produce are somewhat haunting, yet beautiful.

Sky Mirror

Twice a month (new moon and full moon) in Malaysia, one should visit the Sasaran Beach. Because of the lower tide (only an inch deep), and the low winds, the water is so clear that it perfectly reflects the sky. As such, this place is also known as the Sky Mirror.

Aurora Australis

Yes, these are rather similar to the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) found in the Arctic Circle. The primary difference is that you won’t freeze yourself going to see these ones. The best place to find them is in Australia and the rest of Oceania, with it being easier to see them in the winter. They’re just as beautiful as their northern cousins.

Fire Whirls

Fire whirls, while similar in appearance to tornados, are quite different. Rather than being produced by temperature changes high in the atmosphere, they’re caused by heat on the ground quickly rising. A contributor to their rarity is how short-loved they are. Despite that, they can still be quite dangerous.

Green Sand Beaches

There are only a couple of beaches like this one in the world, one of the most notable being Papkolea in Hawaii. The green sand is created from olivine rock, generated from the nearby volcano in eruptions.

Columnar Jointing

Speaking of volcano, this type of natural rock formation is also created by cooling lava flows. These massive columns of basalt formed in mostly hexagonal shapes, making them almost appear to be man-made. Other than basalt, columnar jointing can occur in several different types of igneous rock.

Blood Falls

Alright, let’s address the elephant in the room. That’s not actually blood, it’s just rust. There’s a particular bacteria native to this region of Antarctic that consumes sulfates instead of sugars to fuel itself. There’s so much iron being produced that it oxidizes as soon as it makes contact with the air. That’s what gives it its red color. Still, a scary sight.

Permafrost Explosions

It’s called permafrost cause it’s not supposed to melt, at least not under normal circumstances. But when you add a little bit too much heat, things can start to change. In Siberia, the methane trapped in the permafrost there can be thawed back into a free-flowing gas. Then, after enough time, the gas can cause a massive, foul-smelling explosion.

Clonal Tree Groves

Most of the time when you look at a forest, it’s all different trees. Not in this case. All of these trees are connected by the roots, making them all one, massive organism. Each of the “individuals” are essentially just branches from the larger whole. This tree does this by essentially cloning itself along its ever-expanding roots.

A Starling Murmuration

A murmuration is what you call a group of starlings (which is a kind of bird). And this species of bird is known to create amazing sky choreography with their massive flocks in the sky. A murmuration of starling can be so large that they’re also known “Black Suns”. While incredible, it can be quite the ominous sight. Especially just before the sun sets.

Glowing Ocean

When sailing in the Indian Ocean, one will often see this sight at night. The neon blue color is produced by bioluminescent phytoplankton. These are microscopic organisms, but in large enough groups they can produce quite the sight. You might’ve seen them in the film adaptation of the book Life of Pi.

Miracle Sea Road

Under just the right circumstances, the sea level drastically decreases. In South Korea, this creates a particular road that allows people to cross from one island to another. It’s almost like a return of the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska. The South Koreans hold a festival to celebrate the return of the road every time this occurs.

Sailing Stones

In some deserts in the United States, you can find sailing stones. These are stones that roll around the desert sands, leaving tracks. Considering the weight of the stones, the fact that they managed to create such well-defined paths is astonishing. As it turns out there was a completely rational explanation for this. During winter, Racetrack Playa, one of the places these boulders can be found, fills up with water. The rocks are then encased in ice. At that point, even a light breeze can move the rocks across the floor of the lakes.

Finish Lapland

These trees look like they’re covered in some form of fungus or otherwise alien. But that’s not the case. In this area of Finland, it snows a lot, then freezes over. The trees are simply hidden under a heavy blanket of snow and ice, giving them this appearance.

Sun Dogs

Sun dogs are actually more common than rainbows. They’re an optical phenomena caused by the light refracting off of ice crystals in the atmosphere. This causes it to appear as though there are two additional suns setting, all connected by a halo. These phenomena have been observed for centuries. Aristotle referenced them in one of his works, Meteorology.

Fairy Circles

Nobody knows how these particular patterns form, but they’re only found in two different locations on Earth; the Namib Desert of South Africa and Pilbara Region of Australia. It isn’t entirely clear how or why these shapes form. It just looks like the vegetation tries to grow around where these circles appear. What’s even stranger is that the two variation of Fairy Circles look identical, despite how far apart they are from each group. And if the aerial perspective doesn’t make it clear, these fairy circles are quite large.

Zhangye Landform Geological Park

No, this image is not photoshopped or edited in any way. That is the color the rocks are supposed to be. Centuries of erosion of red sediment from the rain and winds created this natural work of art. This park is in China, so take a trip and look at it yourself if you still think it’s fake.

Lake Maracaibo

Lightning does not strike any location more often than this one. Lake Maracaibo has even been referred to as the lightning capital of the world. Lightning strikes here so often because of the clash of cool, mountain breezes and warm, moist air over the lake. The resulting clash causes highly volatile thunderstorms. It storms here 300 days out of the year.

Lake Hillier

This lake is bubblegum pink. No one’s certain why Lake Hillier is the color it is, but some suspect it has something to do with microalgae. Tourists often check out the lake from above on a helicopter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t swim in it. It’s actually easier to float in because of its high salinity. Although, that also means you shouldn’t be drinking from it.

Moeraki Boulders

These boulders found in Koekohe Beach, New Zealand have been unearthing themselves from underneath their mudstone beds. While erosion can shape earth and ice into sphere shapes, that’s not what happened to these stones. Forming deep within the earth over millions of years, they’re more akin to pearls. Large amounts of earth was compacted over a central core, and they eventually grew to gargantuan size.

Brine Lakes

A lake at the bottom of the ocean may sound preposterous, but they’re real. The lakes themselves are formed by a high level of salinity in the area. The differing pressure causes the lake to form. However, the salinity is so high that any organism that attempts to swim through it will suffer toxic shock syndrome in mere moments. The skeletons of the creatures that ventured too far into the brine lake litter the area around the lake. Then they’re eaten by scavengers better adapted for the lakes such as the hagfish.

Square Waves

Square Waves, also known as crossed sea or squared waves, happen when waves form square shapes in the ocean. Normally near the shore, this occurs when waves from different weather systems clash. The resulting collision creates grid shapes on the surface of the water. These waves are often described as “look, don’t touch”. Getting in-between square waves leaves someone stuck, being pushed and pulled by two different waves. The battling waves have also caused several shipwrecks.

Fallstreak Holes

Because of the strange holes these rare natural phenomena occur in, fallstreak holes are also known as skypunches. They occur when, through a variety of events, a large amount of water in a space in clouds suddenly evaporates. They’re so strange that they’ve been attributed to some UFO sightings. Sometimes, a rainbow can even form inside one.