Compared to what we know of the universe we are incredibly young on a map of time. We’ve lived here for such a short time that we are still discovering new and fascinating things about our planet. There are still a countless amount of things we have no logical explanation for. I mean, less than 10% of our oceans have been explored! That is one of the craziest facts I’ve ever heard. For all that we don’t know, there are plenty of things we do know however. There are amazing natural phenomenon that humans put countless hours of research into unraveling. Check out 20 of the craziest ones below!
1. This gaping fiery hole is known as “The Door to Hell.” It’s actually a gas pit that was set on fire in 1971 by scientists in Turkmenistan. They originally thought it would stop burning fairly quickly, but it’s continued for over 45 years.
2. You may have seen something like this before. Flocks of Starlings will form together, sometimes 50,000 or more, and create what is known as “The Black Sun.” They are also known as murmurations.
3. In the Philippines, there is a river that runs through the island of Mindanao called the Enchanted River. It is an amazingly deep sapphire blue, but that’s not what is truly incredible. The incredible part is that scientists still don’t know where this river comes from!
4. Lake Natron is a salt lake fed by mineral-rich hot springs located in Tanzania. It is the only regular breeding ground in East Africa for the 2.5 million flamingos that live here.
5. Tidal bores occur on the Amazon River and Severn River in England. The leading edge of the incoming tide forms a wave of water that flows against the current of the river that people can surf for hours.
6. This is lenticular cloud. It’s a lens-shaped cloud that forms up in the troposphere. Because of the shape many people have mistaken these for UFO’s.
7. These are what are known as frost flowers. They are ice crystals that are most commonly found growing on young sea ice and thin lake ice. The conditions must be extremely calm and also very cold, around -7 degrees fahrenheit.
8. This massive phenomenon is known as the Richat Structure. It’s also known as the Eye of Africa, and is about 30 miles in diameter located in the middle of the Sahara Desert. Scientists still don’t have a definitive explanation on how it got there. There are theories such as an asteroid impact or natural erosion, but nothing concrete.
9. This looks absolutely beautiful. The Catatumbo Lightning occurs 140-160 nights a year, 10 hours per night and up to 280 times an hour.
10. These underwater crops circles in the ocean off the coast of Japan may look like they come from aliens. The real explanation isn’t as cool, but still neat. These circles are created by male pufferfish while trying to attract a mate.
11. I’ve seen these types of clouds before, and they are incredibly unnerving. They are referred to as undulatus asperatus, aka “roughened or agitated waves.” They have been suggested as a separate cloud classification by the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society.
12. I’ve heard this place described as one of the most beautiful on Earth. It is known as The Flowering Desert, and it normally receives less than 12mm of rainfall a year. When rain is unusually high however, the whole desert erupts in an amazing display of color.
13. Circumhorizontal arcs (also called fired rainbows) occur when an ice halo is formed by plate-shaped ice crystals in high level cirrus clouds.
14. Sailing stones occur in Death Valley in the United States. They are stones that travel across the smooth valley floor and leave long tracks without any human or animal intervention.
15. There are several naturally occurring flames throughout the world. Most of them are kept lit by natural gas, this one is different however. The Eternal Flames Falls in Chestnut Ridge Park, New York is still baffling scientists to this day. They cannot find any reason why this flames keeps burning. It is said that Native Americans first lit the flame thousands of years ago.
16. Namibia’s mysterious Fairy Circles are one of nature’s greatest mysteries, and local legend says they are the footsteps of the gods.
17. The Giant’s Causeway is a structure in Northern Ireland that is made up of over 40,000 basalt columns. It was formed after an ancient volcanic eruption.
18. The Great Blue Hole is located off the coast of Belize. It is 1,000 feet across and over 400 feet deep.
19. Spherical boulders in New Zealand are exhumed from the mudstone enclosing them by coastal erosion.
20. Each year an estimated 43 million land crabs migrate to lay their eggs in the ocean. Authorities close most of the island’s roads during this time, which takes at least a week.
Earth is an amazing place, and every day it keeps getting a little more amazing. We continually discover things that defy our explanation and fuel further scientific study. The thought that we will ever learn everything there is to know about our planet is silly. We simply don’t have that capability, and most likely we don’t have that time. If things continue the way they are, we may not be here much longer to admire this amazing planet.