Phenomenon That Makes Objects Lose Their Shadows
The ‘Liquid Rainbow’ or ‘The river of five colors’ exists, and it’s located in La Macarena, Colombia. Here you’ll be able to see red, yellow, green, and purple waters flow down the river, and the color depends on the water or light conditions.
The macarenia clavigera — an aquatic plant — is the one responsible for this beautiful natural phenomenon. It latches onto the rocks found in the riverbed and gives the river that particular reddish hue. It also helps that the water here is really clear since there are almost no nutrients or other small particles.
The hottest place on Earth and the lowest point in all of North America is called the Death Valley. While traveling there you may be tricked into thinking you’re suddenly surrounded by ice. But that’s not frozen water, it’s actually salt. As rain mixes with minerals, they dissolve the outer layer of rocks surrounding the area. When the water evaporates, we’re only left with the salt.
This surreal landscape becomes even more striking once you see the dunes. They only account for a small portion of Death Valley, but are some of the most memorable sights, some rising over 680 feet. Should you ever be at the top of the dunes, you may be lucky enough to experience one of the strangest wonders of the desert: singing sand. Truth is, we’ve yet to fully understand this phenomenon. One explanation could be that the sand that slides down the dunes actually creates this sound, because of the friction between its grains. When listening to it, it’s similar to an airplane flying in the distance. This is one of the few places on Earth where the sand makes such a loud noise that it can be heard by visitors, along with the Namib Desert in Africa or the Barking Sands of Hawaii.
Earthquake Lights can appear before, during, or immediately after an earthquake. These white and blue lights generally last for just a few seconds, but you might catch one of those rare 10-minute ones too at times. It’s difficult to study this natural phenomenon because earthquake lights seem to appear at different distances from the epicenter of the earthquake — sometimes they happen directly over the epicenter, other times as far as 250 mi away. What we do know is that they only happen when the earthquake is strong enough — a Richter scale rating of 5.0 or above. It may have something to do with the release of ionized oxygen by the breaking of certain stone types.
This unusual occurrence is called the Hessdalen Lights and only happens on a small patch of land in Norway. They were first noticed in the 1930s. They also either hover over the valley or move at great speed. Lasting just a couple of seconds, they are rainbow-colored patches in yellow, white, and red. On average, people have seen them between 10 and 20 times per year. The rare element called scandium might be responsible for this weird phenomenon.
The Hessdalen Lights might be the effect of it combusting with deposits of hydrogen, oxygen, and sodium. This solar phenomenon makes vertical objects look like they have no shadows in broad daylight! For this to happen, the sun needs to be at a 90-degree angle, directly above our planet. It’s called Lahaina Noon — it translates to “cruel sun” In Hawaiian. To see it you’ll need to visit any location — like Singapore, Nicaragua, and parts of the Philippines — that has a 0-degree latitude. In any of these places, you can enjoy Lahaina Noon twice a year.
People can see a clear reflection of the sky in the waters of Sasaran Beach, Kuala Lumpur twice a month. That’s because the tides are the lowest during the new moon and full moon days. The thin layer of water stretches across the smooth sand and makes it look like a mirror. Locals call it “Mirror of the Sky,” and it’s a great place to take pictures that almost look photoshopped!
The Namib Desert in Namibia is unlike any other desert. These weird circular patches spread all across the Namib, in an area of about 1,553 mi. They’re also nicknamed the “fairy circles” and the mysterious phenomenon that causes them was discovered a few years ago, in 2017. For starters, since there is little water in the desert, plants compete for food and eventually disappear. Here’s where the patches come from. But then, the patches are taken over by termites, so nothing can grow back in the same area.
The mountainside of Zhangye National Geopark, in China, is known for its splashes of rainbow in thick straight lines. The rocks here are also smooth, sharp and several hundred meters tall. The resulting colors are caused by deposits of sandstone and other minerals dating back over 24 million years. Wind and other weather conditions sculpted these stunning shapes over time, giving them varying colors, sizes, and patterns. To preserve the location, tourists are not allowed to climb directly on these rocks.
Underneath the frozen waters of Lake Abraham in Alberta, you’ll be able to spot some weird objects beneath the ice, that look like frozen jellyfish. These creepy formations are just frozen methane bubbles, meaning pockets of gas that were trapped underwater and got stuck there after the lakes turned to ice. They’re made when leaves and grass fall into the water and are eaten by bacteria, which transforms them into methane. It’s nice to look at, but dangerous since it can easily become highly flammable.
When the temperatures rise during the spring, the ice melts, and these gassy bubbles pop and fizz. It’s a spectacular sight, just remember not to have any fire source nearby. Scientists have found these types of methane bubbles out there stretched over 3,000 feet long areas! The Kjeragbolten boulder got trapped there during the alternating melting of Norwegian glaciers and the flooding of the valleys.
It’s become a popular hiking location and an even more popular one for taking pictures. Visiting it does take you more than 3,280 feet high. These are lenticular clouds and they create a lovely illusion. If you look at them, you might think they look like mountains that are somehow wearing white, fluffy hats. These clouds are most common where strong wet winds blow over harsh terrain. Mount Fuji is famous for its lenticular clouds, but they were also seen at Mount Rainier in Washington and Mount Errigal in Ireland.
This forest of giant limestone spikes is called Tsingy — which translates to “where one cannot walk barefoot” or “walk on tiptoes” for people living in Madagascar. To see these needle-like formations from this national park, a bridge was set in a place where tourists can walk across. Covering more than 580 sq miles, this forest has some rock pinnacles reaching over two and a half thousand feet high! In the colder season, New York’s Letchworth State Park, sometimes called the “Grand Canyon of the East”, has its own phenomena.
Water from a natural spring-fed fountain freezes mid-flight, making a sharp “ice volcano”. It also grows larger and larger as winter days pass, sometimes growing as tall as 50 feet! Selenicereus grandiflorus... Meh, let’s leave it on the screen for now. Right, this one looks like a wilted cactus on any given day. But on one magical summer evening, this mysterious plant makes up these vanilla-scented white blooms. Unfortunately, it only lasts until the next morning. For botany enthusiasts, there is an annual show at Tucson’s Tohono Chul botanical gardens, which features the largest collection of such plants. The annual show is quite tricky to organize too since the bloom can only be predicted on the day it happens.
To witness a rare, golden waterfall you’ll just have to drive out to Yosemite National Park, at the Horsetail Falls. Plan your trip in winter or early spring: that’s the only time during the year when this weird phenomenon can be spotted. It’s nothing more than sunlight, at dusk, hitting the waterfall in such a unique way, that it makes it look like a river of lava. Or gold, the viewer’s choice. That’s the reason why during this time of year, the Horsetail Falls is also named the Firefall. This site is becoming less and less visible in recent years because of drought.