Have you ever seen miracles of nature- something in the natural world that you didn’t think was possible? Have you heard of some natural force doing something unexplainable? Ground-breaking news would be something like a large earthquake (HA. HA. See what I did there?) or a dormant volcano erupting for the first time. What I’m referring to is the more whimsical, fun form of nature. From the depths of the oceans, which teem with almost alien life, to the tippy top of the tallest mountain on Earth, we have something awesome going on at any given moment.
Here are just a few of these amazing natural occurrences.
Some deserts in Earth have special properties. The ground in these areas is so flat and lacking in terrain that hundred and thousand pound rocks can actually slide along the ground for miles. One of these deserts is the Black Rock Desert, and these rocks actually leave trails in the sand- as if they’ve been dragged by somebody. Scientists and researchers from NASA think this is most likely caused by ice forming on the rocks, and then inundation by snow melt from the mountains above. When everything is nice and slippery, desert windstorms and other weather push the rocks around.
The Lighthouse of Maracaibo
The Earth is charged like a giant battery, with positive and negative poles. Thanks to that, we have charged particles that float around, gathering together to make lightning. A single stroke of lightning can ignite the air around up to fifty-four thousand degrees Fahrenheit. This causes the air to expand rapidly, ballooning it into a shock wave, or thunder. Every minute on Earth, six thousand lightning strikes occur. Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela has 260 days of lightning on average, making it the most electric place on Earth. Because the inlet to the lake is a bog, the area around Lake Maracaibo has a unique landscape. Since it’s closed off on three sides by the Andes mountain range, the Perija mountains, and Merida’s Cordillera, the heat and moisture trapped in the plains becomes electrically charged. The air masses are destabilized by the ridges of the mountains on all sides, resulting in thunderstorms.
The Richtat Structure
The Richtat Structure, also known as the Eye of Sahara, is an elliptical depression in the Sahara desert. Boasting a diameter of 40 kilometers, about 25 miles, this natural formation was most likely at one point a giant rock dome, that collapsed from erosion over time. This natural formation was created from magma pushing up toward the surface of the earth that created a bulge in the rock. The reason it looks like a partially eaten jawbreaker is because of the different types of rock eroding at differing speeds. When it was first discovered, it was mistakenly thought that this was caused by an asteroid because of the roundness of the shape of the anomaly, but scientific investigations led researchers to believe other causes due to the lack of the mineral coesite, which is an indicator of shock metamorphism. Astronauts know they’re close to Cape of Good Hope when they see this, and they were the first to discover the Richtat Structure- as it is almost impossible to see from the ground.
In an area of the Antarctic Ocean, there’s a glacier, dubbed the Taylor Glacier, that bleeds. Griffith Taylor, an Australian geologist who discovered this phenomena, originally misinterpreted this reddish water to red algae. This has been disproven. The reason behind the blood red water is that there’s a pocket of ancient seawater, trapped by a glacier during the Meocine period, with an unusually large amount of hydrous ferric oxides dissolving in it. Since this pocket of seawater is sealed, the less soluble hydrous ferric oxide becomes oxidized in contact with the atmosphere, creating a red hue. The more soluble ferric oxide ions are already dissolved into the ancient water. The glacier this anomaly formed on isn’t frozen to bedrock, probably because of the salt water trapped inside of it. This seawater could hold many secrets, since it’s been around for millions of years, preserved inside a natural cage.
What a peaceful looking grove of trees. Actually, I can’t use plural here, because these ‘trees’ aren’t many in number, they’re all a part of one massive network; one super-tree. Their roots connect underground, but above ground this tree looks like it’s around 47,000 individual trees. It’s called the quaking aspen, nicknamed Pando( Latin for “I spread”), and it’s one of the largest and oldest organisms in the world. Located in southern Utah, some believe that this tree is over 1 million years old, while others peg it at around 80,000 years. If it is actually 1 million years old, then Pando hasn’t flowered in over 10,000 years. Researchers believe that it is dying, although they don’t know for sure why, they think it is due to a combination of drought, insects, and disease. The system can survive even the largest wildfires, for even if all of the stems burn away, the roots remain protected underground. Quaking aspen regularly reproduce using a process called suckering. An individual stem can send out lateral roots that, under the correct conditions, can send out other stems. From all above-ground appearances the new stems look exactly like another tree. This collection of new stems, called ramets, all form one greater organism, deemed the “clone”. The organism extends 43 hectares, almost 106 acres, and weighs approximately 6000 tons. Good luck uprooting Pando from your backyard.
There’s only one word for these types of phenomena, and that word is insane. It’s crazy that these things are possible, and what’s even more insane is that there’s a scientific explanation for all of them. Nature’s crazy, but at least it makes sense.