Dirty Thunderstorms: Volcanic lightning caused by ash particles
rubbing together and creating static electricity.
Flammable ice bubbles: frozen bubbles of methane, trapped
beneath Alberta’s Lake Abraham.
The Door to Hell: A gas fire in Turkmenistan accidentally
ignited by scientists in 1971 and still burning today.
Christmas Island’s Red Crabs: Each year an estimated 43 million
land crabs migrate to lay their eggs in the ocean.
The Catumbo Lightning, which occurs during 140 to 160 nights a
year, 10 hours per night and up to 280 times per hour.
The great Monarch butterfly migration: The eastern North
American population is notable for its southward late
summer/autumn migration from the USA and Canada to Mexico,
covering thousands of kilometers.
Fleeing torrential floodwaters near Wagga Wagga, Australia,
thousands of spiders cover fields with cobwebs.
Namibia’s mysterious Fairy Circles: Studies suggest that a sand
termite is responsible for their creation.
Spherical boulders in New Zealand: exhumed from the mudstone
enclosing them by coastal erosion.
Underwater crop circles in the ocean off Japan: created by a
male pufferfish in order to woo females.
Huge flocks of up to 50,000 starlings form in areas of the UK
just before sundown during mid-winter. They are known as
The Great Blue Hole: a large submarine sinkhole off the coast of
Belize, over 300m across and 124m deep.
The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland: an area of about 40,000
interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic
The Sardine Run: occurs from May through July when billions of
sardines move north along the east coast of South Africa. Their
sheer numbers create a feeding frenzy along the coastline.
Tidal bores on the Amazon in Brazil and the Severn in England: a
tidal phenomenon in which the leading edge of the incoming tide
forms a wave of water that travels up a river against the flow.
Sailing stones in Death Valley, USA: a geological phenomenon
where rocks move and inscribe long tracks along a smooth valley
floor without human or animal intervention.
Circumhorizontal arcs, misleadingly known as fire rainbows: an
optical phenomenon featuring an ice halo formed by plate-shaped
ice crystals in high level cirrus clouds.
The Flowering Desert: occurs in the Atacama Desert, Chile, in
years when rainfall is unusually high. Normally the region
receives less than 12mm of rain annually.
Mammatus clouds, aka “mammary clouds” or “breast clouds”: a
meteorological term applied to a rare pattern of pouches hanging
underneath the base of a cloud.
Lenticular clouds over Mount Olympus: stationary lens-shaped
clouds that form in the troposphere. Because of their shape,
they have been offered as an explanation for some UFO sightings.
Undulatus asperatus aka “roughened or agitated waves”: This
cloud formation has been proposed as a separate cloud
classification by the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society
and would be the first new type of cloud recognized since 1951.
Polar stratospheric clouds: also known as nacreous clouds (from
nacre, or mother of pearl, due to their iridescence).
Tanzania’s Lake Natron: a salt lake fed by mineral-rich hot
springs that is the only regular breeding area in East Africa
for the 2.5 million lesser flamingoes.
Canada’s saline endorheic alkali Spotted Lake: contains some of
the highest quantities of magnesium sulfate, calcium and sodium
sulphates in the world.
Light pillars: an optical phenomenon formed by the reflection of
sunlight or moonlight by ice crystals that are present in the
Bioluminescent waves on a beach in the Maldives: Various species
of phytoplankton are known to bioluminesce; when washed ashore
by the tides, their chemical energy is turned into light energy.
Rainbow eucalyptus aka rainbow gum: patches of outer bark are
shed annually at different times, darkening and maturing to give
blue, purple, orange and then maroon tones.
Frost flowers: ice crystals commonly found growing on young sea
ice and thin lake ice in extremely cold, calm conditions nearing
-22C or -7.6F.
The Moskstraumen is a tidal whirlpool, one of the strongest in
the world, that forms in the Norwegian Sea. The Moskstraum was
the inspiration for Edgar Allan Poe’s short story A Descent into
the Maelström (1841), which brought the term maelstrom into the
Snow chimneys on Mount Erebus, Antarctica: the southernmost
active volcano on Earth.