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Photos Of The Most Unbelievable Natural Phenomena

The universe is a vast, incredible thing. There is so much we have yet to understand about why things are the way they are. Then there are those things that, even when explained, still seem completely incredible. Here's our roundup of some pictures of nature and the most bizarre and miraculous natural occurrences. As they say, in some cases the truth is stranger than fiction—and in this case, nature is truly bizarre.


For many, this is not a true moonbow, but a spray moonbow  at the Lower Yosemite FallsFor many, this is not a true moonbow, but a spray moonbow at the Lower Yosemite Falls

Rainbows are a well-observed occurrence. What about moonbows? A moonbow is sometimes called a lunar rainbow or white rainbow. It is a rainbow that comes from light reflecting from the surface of the moon instead of the sun. Moonbows are not as bright and distinguishable as their famous cousins, but because of their exclusivity, they hold a special kind of beauty.

Moonbows are always located in the opposite part of the sky from the moon and can best be viewed when the moon is near to full. For true moonbows, other than those produced by waterfalls or sprays, the moon must be low in the sky and the sky has to be dark and rainy.

Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis

Northern Lights over Bear Lake, Eielson Air Force Base, AlaskaNorthern Lights over Bear Lake, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska

Otherwise known as the Northern Lights or Southern Lights, this spellbinding natural phenomenon is one of the most spectacular. These lights are a result of the Earth’s photons colliding with solar winds and they are only visible in certain parts of the Northern or Southern Hemisphere.

Danxia landform

Danxia landform in Gansu, ChinaDanxia landform in Gansu, China

A unique geological phenomenon known as Danxia landform can only be observed in several places in China. This example is from  Zhangye, a Province of Gansu. The color is the result of an accumulation of millions of years of red sandstone and other compound rocks.

Antarctic Waves

 Antartic base in Dumont d'UrvilleAntartic base in Dumont d'Urville

Unlike common misconception this natural phenomenon is not produced by water hitting cold air and freezing, but rather ice melting. Melting water in this situation is created by a glacier or ice cap and each time snow accumulates, more layers are added to the “wave.”

Mammatus Clouds

Mammatus Clouds over San Francisco, CaliforniaMammatus Clouds over San Francisco, California

Mammatus clouds most often form on the underside of cumulonimbus clouds. Mammatus clouds usually form beneath weakening thunderstorms, thus indicating the passing of severe weather.

Their name means  "mammary cloud" or "breast cloud," for its appearance.

Earthquake Lights

Earthquake Lights over ChileEarthquake Lights over Chile

Sometimes before, sometimes after a large earthquake, blue, white, or colored light flashes appear in the sky. They only last a few seconds, and occur infrequently. Their origins are yet unknown, with theories ranging from phosphine gas emissions to electrokinetics.


Mycena chlorophanosMycena chlorophanos

This phenomenon in nature is called bioluminescence and is a trait possesed only by a small group of creatures. This is a bioluminescent form of fungi.

Other bioluminescent organisms include the firefly, the fungus gnat, deep sea flashlight fish, female anglerfish, Cookiecutter sharks, and squid.

Climbing Goats of Morroco

Climbing Goats of MorrocoClimbing Goats of Morroco

This is an example of extreme animal adaptation. These Moroccan goats climb trees because they’re hungry. With minimal food for them on the ground, they climb the trees looking for fruit, nuts, and edible leaves.

The Naga Fireballs

The Naga Fireballs over Thailand’s Mekong RiverThe Naga Fireballs over Thailand’s Mekong River

Thailand’s Mekong River is home to a phenomenon of exploding fireballs. Scientists believe that the fireballs are pockets of methane bubbling up from the river, but local residents think this to be a mystical occurrence coming from the fiery breath of Naga, a serpent that haunts the river.


Week 17 UltrasoundWeek 17 Ultrasound

This is most unbelievable thing of them all. Our bodies are such delicate, mysterious things. We are simply a bunch of atoms bouncing around from place to place. With all of our knowledge and all of our experiences, we still don't know why we're here.

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Bioluminescence is just one of nature’s many astonishing miracles.
Last modified on Friday, 29 June 2012 12:33

Laura Vladimirova is a freelance journalist currently based out of New York City. Years of long-term travel abroad have made her a passionate lifestyles writer. Her favorite subjects include art, people, archaeology, travel, cultural events, health, and green living. When she's not typing away at her keyboard or getting her passport stamped, she's probably enjoying the great outdoors.

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/LauraV

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