Category: phenomena

Magnificent Mount Etna Volcano Roaring Lava [42 Photos]

August 19th, 2014 Permalink

Mount Etna, one of the 17 Decade Volcanoes and Europe’s tallest active volcano, has been putting on a great show. Adrenaline-seeking tourists have been getting up-close and personal for the rumbling and lava spewing spectacle in Italy. Even the astronauts aboard the ISS have taken note and grabbed some stunning shots. Here’s Mount Etna…[42 Photos]

Mount Etna lava fountain, August 2014

After rumbling for months, Mount Etna is spewing molten lava like in this lava fountain taken in August 2014. Photo #1 by Davide Nicotra

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Bizarre but Beautiful Pancake Rocks & Blowholes in New Zealand National Park

July 18th, 2014 Permalink

On the edge of the New Zealand’s Paparoa National Park, you can walk among bizarre rock formations, many that resemble stacks of pancakes. The Tasman Sea surges into undercut cavities, booms, and then seawater geysers shoot through blowholes, making the spectacular natural attraction of blowholes in Pancake Rocks a “must see” at high tide and/or storms. [45 Photos]

Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki

The west coast of New Zealand is famous for its unique natural attractions of “Pancake Rocks” and blowholes, making Dolomite Point in Punakaiki “a must see” when visiting the southern island’s coastal region. Photo #1 by Christian Mehlführer

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Lovely Lenticular Clouds: 42 Incredible UFO Cloud Photos

May 22nd, 2014 Permalink

Some folks think lenticular clouds look like a stack of pancakes, but most people think they look like “saucer clouds.” These clouds are more dense, colder, than the surrounding air, so if the ambient weather doesn’t change then it just appears to hover without moving. It’s been said that these “lennies” are a possible explanation for some reported Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) sightings. If conditions are “just right,” lenticular clouds can form about anywhere. Yet this meteorological phenomenon most often appears over mountain peaks and extinct volcanoes. Even that has been dubbed “rare.” If you live in the “flat” lands, then it’s possible you’ve never witnessed an incredible UFO cloud. Photographers love to capture them, so thanks to their hard work, here are 42 fabulous photos of lovely lenticular clouds. [42 Photos]

Lenticular clouds hang steady over the sea ice in McMurdo Sound

Lenticular clouds hang steady over the sea ice in McMurdo Sound. But photographers don’t have to freeze in Antarctica to capture this dramatic meteorological phenomenon. Photo #1 by Deven Stross

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Beautiful Blood Red Moons: Tetrad of Lunar Eclipses [20 PICS]

April 12th, 2014 Permalink

April 15 is tax day in the USA, but don’t let that get you down. Instead, lift your eyes toward the heavens during the darkness and wee hours of the morning to view the first of four total lunar eclipses, spaced six full moons apart. Those four consecutive total lunar eclipses are called a tetrad. Christian Pastor John Hagee dubbed them “Blood Moons” denoting change for Israel; these total eclipses of the moon occur on Jewish holidays such a Passover in April 2014 and April 2015, and Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles, in September 2014 and September 2015. Some folks are even claiming this series of blood-red moons is heralding the end is nigh. You’ve might have seen “blood red” moons before as the term has previously been applied to the coloring of Harvest moons. One thing that’s for sure, if you live in the USA, then you have a front row seat for a tetrad of lunar eclipses. Here’s a calculator to figure when you can see it from where you live. Here are some beautiful photos of blood red moons, aka total lunar eclipses. [20 Photos]

Tetrad Blood Red Moon, harbinger of end times

So you might have heard about the coming tetrad? This shot of a total lunar eclipse over a church and cross reminded us of the coming four consecutive total lunar eclipses. During such an eclipse, the moon can appear to be reddish in color. Some folks are calling them “Blood Moons,” others are quoting Biblical prophecy of when the moon turns blood red, a harbinger of end times. NASA says if you are in the USA, then you have a front row seat to view the 2014-2015 tetrad. Photo #1 by D. Wood

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Waverly Hills Sanatorium: 1 of the Scariest Abandoned Hospitals in America

October 24th, 2013 Permalink

This former tuberculosis hospital has been called one of the most terrifying, most haunted, places in America. At least 6,000 people died there, many taken out through a ‘death chute’ tunnel, and Waverly Hills reached urban legend ghost status. Built in 1926, the massive Gothic architecture housed TB patients suffering from the “White Plague” with no antibiotic cure on the horizon. It closed in 1962, then became a facility for the elderly, but was shut down for patient abuse by Kentucky state officials in 1982. Here’s a ‘spooky USA’ armchair visit to a place of history and mystery, Waverly Hills Sanatorium. [66 Photos, 6 Videos]

Patients of Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Patients of Waverly Hills Sanatorium. You’re looking at it, the most modern, most advanced and well-equipped tuberculosis hospital at the time…in 1926. There had been a horrible outbreak, the “White Plague,” sweeping across America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It’s been said that thousands afflicted with tuberculosis checked in, but some never checked out. And nowadays this abandoned hospital is known as “one of the most terrifying places in America.” Photo #1 by The Owl / University of Louisville Libraries

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Cool Karst at China’s Shilin Stone Forest: 270 Million Year Old Natural Wonder [35 PICS]

June 6th, 2013 Permalink

Imagine 96,000 acres of forest, then swap out the trees in your mind’s eye for huge karst formations, some of which formed at least 270 million years ago, and that “stone forest” is Shilin in China. Since the Ming Dynasty in 1368-1644 AD, the collections of intricate karst formations and landscapes at Shilin Stone Forest have “bewitched” people; the site became known as the ‘First Wonder of the World,’ according to the China Travel Guide. South China Karst is not one Stone Forest, but made up of many such individual landscapes of all sizes. In fact, UNESCO says South China Karst has “outstanding universal value” and named two smaller stone forests, Naigu Stone Forest and Suogeyi Village, both as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here’s a look at Shilin Stone Forest in China.
[35 Photos]

Lunan County, China, Stone Forest, Shilin

Imagine 96,000 acres of forest, then swap out the trees in your mind’s eye for huge karst formations, some of which formed at least 270 million years ago, and that “stone forest” is Shilin in China. It’s located about an hour away from Kunming. Shilin is dotted with 65 reservoirs and ponds. Photo #1 by Richard IJzermans

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50 Incredible, Inspirational Double Rainbows [PICS]

May 2nd, 2013 Permalink

There are reflected rainbows in bodies of water; reflection and supernumerary rainbows, fogbows, multiple and high-order ‘rose of rainbows,’ tertiary and quaternary rainbows, twinned rainbows, and even moonbows . . . rare rainbows in the dark. Whew! Here we are focusing on a meteorological phenomenon and nature’s grand optical illusion trick that create double rainbows. Most all cultures regard a rainbow as a positive sign. So here is double the positive, double the awe and inspiration, that sparked the double rainbow meme. Have a great day and enjoy! [50 Photos]

Double rainbow over Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO

Double rainbow over Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO. Did you know there really isn’t an “end” to a rainbow? Maybe that’s why finding a pot of gold is as hard as spotting a tricky leprechaun. If you stood at where I can see the “proverbial” end of the rainbow, then that rainbow would appear to you to be in a different spot. It’s one of nature’s very best optical “illusion” tricks. Experiencing the phenomenon depends upon where you are standing, where the sun is and where the moisture is just right in the air. Rainbows, especially double rainbows, are considered a positive, awe-inspiring sign in most cultures. Photo #1 by Raymond Larose

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Beautifully Exotic Caño Cristales: River That ‘Ran Away From Paradise’ [37 PICS]

April 12th, 2013 Permalink

A river in Columbia is beautifully exotic and home to a natural phenomenon that earned it many complimentary names like ‘the river that ran away from paradise.’ You can only visit the Caño Cristales river from July to December. Within that time frame is a shorter period when the conditions are perfect to cause blooms in the water that showcase a ‘liquid rainbow’ of ‘yellow, green, blue, black, and especially the red of the Macarenia clavigera.’ During the rest of the year, the water looks like any other river, surrounded by fantastic rock formations that are so steep they are said to hide away the view of numerous waterfalls and natural swimming holes. The rock formations look remarkably similar to Moon Valley in beautiful Brazil, but Rio Caño Cristales has been bestowed with many titles such as “The River of Five Colors,” “The Liquid Rainbow”, “the river that ran away from paradise,” and even “The Most Beautiful River in the World.” [37 Photos]

The Liquid Rainbow aka Caño Cristales

The Liquid Rainbow aka Caño Cristales. Photo #1 by Guillermo Vasquez

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Flaming Door to Hell in the Devil’s Sandbox along Infamous Silk Road

March 22nd, 2013 Permalink

Out in the middle of a hot, dry Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan, along the ancient Silk Road, Soviet-era scientists found a cavern of natural gas and started drilling. But the drill hit another pocket in the cavern, right before the ground collapsed, and the entire drilling rig disappeared into the huge Darvaza Gas Crater. Then poisonous gas started to pour out. So what did the scientists decide to do in order to avoid a potential environmental disaster? Burn it off. Genius! That was in 1971, but the flaming natural gas crater is still burning 42 years later. The locals dubbed it, “The Door to Hell.” Derweze can also be spelled Darvaza and that translates to “gate,” so it is sometimes referred to as “Hell’s Gate” or the “Gates of Hell.” [35 Photos]

Golden Eagle Silk Road, The Door to Hell in Darvaza, Turkmenistan

Back along the “Golden Eagle Silk Road” is the most famous crater, the Door to Hell. After a Soviet drilling accident in 1971, and a decision to burn the gas off, this hole — sometimes also called the Gates of Hell, Hell’s Gate — has been continually burning for 42 years. The locals named this huge gas reserve crater the ‘Door to Hell” because it is on fire with bright orange flames and has boiling mud. Derweze’s large crater is has a 230 feet (70 m) diameter. Photo #1 by Martha de Jong-Lantink

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‘Red Tide’ Phenomenon in Rainbow of Algal Bloom Colors [38 PICS]

March 2nd, 2013 Permalink

While you might not stop to think on it, water is full of algae and aquatic microorganisms that play a vital role in marine and fresh-water ecosystems. Not all algae is harmful, but when microscopic algae grows too quickly, then it can cause a phenomenon commonly called “red tide.” Scientists prefer the term algal blooms. Not all of these “red tide” algal blooms are red or dangerous, some even appear to glow with bio-luminescence, but harmful algal blooms can poison shellfish, fish or other wildlife. It’s no longer cool to call these “red tides” because red tides are very often not red; many have no discoloration at all. Red tide also is not the same thing as the wide variety of algal bloom species that are often mistakenly called red tides. Yet when the water appears blood red, which is rare, and dead fish are floating on the surface or the beach, then it freaks people out and rumors start flying about the “end of the world.” There are varying opinions about if it is “safe” to swim in a “red tide” which often comes in a rainbow of algal bloom colors . . . and shades of harmful algal bloom. Would you swim or fish in these waters? [38 Photos]

Red Tide at midnight

When water turns red, would you swim here? “Bioluminescent dinoflagellates (Lingulodinium polyedrum) lighting a breaking wave at midnight. The blue light is a result of a luciferase enzyme (like firefly luciferase, but the enzyme in L. polyedrum shares no similarity with that of the firefly enzyme). Under the right conditions, the dinoflagellates become so numerous that the water takes on a muddy reddish color (hence the name ‘Red Tide’). The bioluminescence is only visible at night. The photo was taken 6/26/2005 with a Canon Rebel XT – 6s, f5.6, ISO 1600, 85mm (135mm equiv).” Photo #1 by Mike (msauder)

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Beautiful Blue Lake Cave in Brazil

February 24th, 2013 Permalink

Bonito is the heart of eco-tourism in Brazil because it is famous for its natural beauty, prehistoric caves, waterfalls, and clear blue waters. One of the most beautiful is Blue Lake Cave (Gruta do Lago Azul). Amazingly, it is believed that no human set foot inside the cavern with the cobalt blue waters until 1924 when an Indian from the Terena tribe discovered it. That’s not to say nothing ventured down into the 328 feet (100 meters) deep cave, since massive mammals fossils from about 10,000 years ago were discovered by cave divers, bones such as those belonging to the Saber-tooth tiger and giant ground sloth. Because the water is so clear, it is hard to fathom that Blue Lake Cave is about 295 feet (90 meters) deep. Adventurers start with a hike through the forest, then go caving through a wide entrance that allows sunlight to illuminate the gorgeous blue waters as well as stalactites and stalagmites of all different sizes. Here’s a look at Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil and some of the extraordinary and unusual ecotourism adventures and true natural treasures including beautiful Blue Lake Cave. [25 Photos]

Sunlight lighting up the blue waters in the ancient cavern

Sunlight lighting up the blue waters in the ancient cavern. The cave itself is deep, 328 feet (100 meters) deep, and the lake inside has a depth of about 295 feet (90 meters). Photo #1 by LNarimatsu

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Sensational Starling Murmuration: Far Out Flocking Phenomenon [37 PICS, 13 VIDS]

November 25th, 2012 Permalink

In the winter, over Europe, massive starling flocks, from thousands to millions of birds, swarm, swoop, shift, swirl and twirl, moving as one while performing amazing aerial acrobatics. Although a previous Love These Pics post was full of bird flocks and flying swarms that seemed to be attacking like Hitchcock’s The Birds, some were, in reality, a starling murmuration. This extraordinarily beautiful ballet at dusk is a pre-roosting phenomenon known as starling murmuration. Although this is science, the phenomenon is more math and physics than biology. The ‘Black Sun’ is hypnotic to watch as the starlings fill the evening sky, twisting and turning in a incredible and unpredictable waltz. [37 Photos, 13 Videos]

Swarms and starling murmuration

Starling swarms, an extraordinarily beautiful ballet at dusk that is a pre-roosting phenomenon of nature known as ‘starling murmuration.’ Photo #1 by Fayez Nureldine / AFP

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