Category: phenomena

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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Howling at the Harvest Moon [40 Fabulous Photos]

November 7th, 2012 Permalink

La luna makes folks seem like lunatics, and a bunch of people worldwide definitely cut loose and act crazy when there is a full moon. Harvest moon is real, but it is just as often a name referring to huge, orange moons. Red moons seem a bit like a bad premonition and blood red moons seem to be foretelling the end of the world. It’s a trick of light though. Full moons, supermoons and even lunar eclipses are all known for ‘the locals’ going temporarily looney. There are blue moons, Hunter moons and all kinds of beautiful full lunar moonscapes in these photos. Does looking at a magnificent moonrise in pictures, or only in real life, make you feel like barking or howling at the moon? [40 Photos]

Harvest Moon, Moonrise of the 2012 Supermoon taken from the Toroweap viewpoint at the Grand Canyon's North Rim

Harvest Moon seems to be bigger, brighter, or more colorful than other full moons because the reddish component of the light is what we see. This was a Supermoon, when ‘Earth, Moon and Sun are all in a line, with Moon in its nearest approach to Earth.’ The photographer called this, “Moonrise of the 2012 Supermoon taken from the Toroweap viewpoint at the Grand Canyon's North Rim.” Photo #1 by Jason Hines

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Before Magnificent Mount Fuji Volcano Erupts…[46 PICS]

September 15th, 2012 Permalink

We haven’t done much looking around at Japan, other than Nara Dreamland, the abandoned Disney knock-off amusement park, but now the experts are red-alert claiming that Mount Fuji volcano is about to erupt. Mathematical models created in September 2012 by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention suggested that the pressure in Mount Fuji’s magma chamber could be at 1.6 megapascals higher than it was in 1707. The media jumped on this to claim as meaning an eruption of Mt. Fuji was imminent. We’ll leave that for the scientists to decide because nothing can be done to stop a natural disaster. Meanwhile, Mount Fuji has applied to be a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. It’s been around in Japanese art since ancient times when samurai warriors trained at the base and women were forbidden from climbing to the sacred summit. Nowadays people travel from all over the world specifically to see this view; about 300,000 adventuresome souls climb to the summit annually. It’s thought Mount Fuji means “everlasting life.” Ironically at the northwest base of Fuji there are 14 sq miles (35-sq-km) that represent the opposite of life — the taking of life. Aokigahara Forest, also called the Sea of Trees, is infamous as a dense forest where troubled souls go to commit suicide. So we interrupt the scheduled panic and doomsday disaster news, to take in the beauty before it is allegedly destroyed in an eruption. Here’s the magnificent 12,389 ft (3,776.24 m ) Mount Fuji, one of Japan’s ‘Three Holy Mountains’ and the Suicide Forest. [46 Photos, 1 Video]

Tea fields and Mount Fuji

It’s all over the news; volcano researchers’ reports warning that an eruption of Mount Fuji in Japan is ‘looming’ and ‘imminent.’ While we certainly hope that such doom and gloom reports of Mount Fuji being a ‘ticking time bomb’ are wrong, we wanted to take a look at the magnificent beauty of the highest mountain in Japan. It’s located on Honshu Island, but towering in at 12,389 feet (3,776.24 meters), the active stratovolcano can be seen from so very many beautiful places in Japan. Here is Mount Fuji and seen from gorgeous green tea fields. Photo #1 by Fujisan

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Breathtaking Baatara Gorge Waterfall & Cave of the Three Bridges [31 PICS]

August 23rd, 2012 Permalink

In Lebanon, the beautiful Baatara gorge waterfall cascades 837 feet (255 m) down in a thunderous roar during spring as the snow melts. Although a sign cautions not to climb around too close to the possibly slick edges at the risk of slipping and plunging to your death, nothing prepares a person to be so in awe of nature as the cavern opens up to house magnificent three-tiered natural bridges. This wonder of nature is also called the “Cave of the Three Bridges,” an abyss, “Three Bridges Chasm”, sinkhole, “pothole” and “hole in the wall.” During spring and early summer, the wildflowers are in full bloom making it a great time to hike the Tannourine Cedar Forest Reserve, part of the Lebanon Mountain Trail, that takes adventurers to the immense and breathtaking Baatara gorge waterfall. [31 Photos]

Beautiful Baatara gorge waterall in the Tannourin mountains of Lebanon

When snow melts in the spring, the water forms this huge Baatara gorge waterfall in the Tannourin mountains of Lebanon. Photo #1 by Eli+

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Celebrating World Photography Day with Wikimedia Commons Pictures of the Year

August 14th, 2012 Permalink

August 19, 2012, is World Photography Day. This is great opportunity to say thank you to photographers. Without photographers licensing their awesome captures as Creative Commons, we wouldn’t be able to share so many awesome works of art. Once upon a time there were not nearly so many quality images licensed under Creative Commons, but that continues to change. We wanted to celebrate World Photography Day by showcasing the Wikimedia Commons Pictures of the Year, decided at the last part of June 2012. There were all sorts of categories in this Sixth Annual Wikimedia Commons POTY Contest, so here are extremely varied subjects that were declared Picture of the Year winners. Congratulations! [31 Photos]

WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY DAY, Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year 1st place: View of Lake Bondhus in Norway, and in the background of the Bondhus Glacier, part of the Folgefonna Glacier

Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year 2011 #1 with 143 votes in Final. A view of the lake Bondhus in Norway. In the background a view of the Bondhus Glacier as a part of the Folgefonna GlacierView of Lake Bondhus in Norway, and in the background of the Bondhus Glacier, part of the Folgefonna Glacier. Photo #1 by Alchemist-hp (

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Paradise In The Devil’s Garden: Plitvice Waterfalls

July 13th, 2012 Permalink

Once upon a time in Croatia, this mysterious world was hidden deep in an enchanted forest and called “The Devil’s Garden.” For the few brave souls that dared to venture beyond the woods, they found a paradise of amazingly-colored lakes, spectacular karst and thunderous waterfalls. Together it creates the natural phenomena which can still be seen at Plitvice Lakes National Park. Every year, at least 1,200,000 visitors come to be awed by the geomorphology and natural beauty of changing lake colors. There are 16 cascading lakes in crystal-clear shades of blue and green. Plitvice waterfalls have been called some of the most beautiful to be found among UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Plitvicka Jezera National Park is spread out over 73,350 acres and some of the most amazing features are underground in the form of subterranean caverns. [37 Photos, 4 Videos]

Walking through Plitvice NP

Plitvice National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where 16 gorgeous lakes from azure to green to gray are said to constantly be changing colors based on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and depending upon the angle of sunlight. It’s an amazing natural phenomena and just one of the many reasons people come to Plitvice. Photo #1 by Desktop Nexus

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Creepy Abandoned Haunted Hospital: Soon to House Senior Citizens [70 PICS, 5 Vids]

May 19th, 2012 Permalink

How do you tell grandma or grandpa that you love them? Certainly not by putting them in a formerly abandoned and haunted hospital! Facepalm, you’ve got to be kidding me? That is just so wrong in so many different ways! The six-story Linda Vista Community Hospital, which has been abandoned since 1991, is an infamous Hollywood favorite for filming super scary movies. It also has a notorious reputation for all kinds of paranormal phenomena. After some serious renovations, the supposedly haunted hospital will be revamped into about 100 single-bedroom ‘affordable housing’ apartments — Linda Vista Senior Apartments. Do you still dispute it’s haunted after viewing the 70 photos and 5 paranormal investigation videos as ‘proof’? Even skeptics, would you want your grandma to live anywhere within the top 5 floors of these future senior living apartments? About 42% of the U.S. population admits to believing in ghosts and the decaying and creepy hospital is a hotspot for urban explorers, paranormal investigators and the curious in Los Angeles. And then there’s all those animal sacrifices and allegedly satanic rituals which leave some people asking does the devil live inside Linda Vista Hospital?

While HDR sparked epic complaints on the illegal Six Flags tour, it is an art that we especially appreciate when it comes to enhancing extremely eerie, abandoned places . . . especially ‘haunted hospitals.’ If you’d rather see an abandoned place without HDR, here is Nara Dreamland, a derelict knock-off Disneyland in Japan. Otherwise, photographers, paranormal investigators and urban explorers take us on an urbex tour of this creepy ‘haunted’ hospital. Welcome to Linda Vista, future housing for grandpa and grandma. [70 photos and 5 paranormal investigation videos]

Ray of light in the former maternity ward, abandoned Linda Vista Community Hospital

Dear “low income” senior citizen of Los Angeles, to reward you for all your struggles in life, Hollywood’s most beloved haunted hospital filming location is being refurbished so you can live there. The creepy idea is the facepalm of the day! The 88 year old hospital has been abandoned for 21 years. It’s supposedly and “scientifically” proven to be haunted. Here you see a ray of light in the former maternity ward of abandoned and eerie Linda Vista Community Hospital. Photo #1 by Neil Kremer

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37 Out-of-this-World Photos: Earth from Above

March 22nd, 2012 Permalink

Aerial photography can give us awesome perspectives, but when we zoom out and then observe the Big Blue Marble from high above, such as the breathtaking views of Earth from the ISS, it’s an eye-opening experience for most of us. Internationally, many countries have satellites and spacecrafts with their unblinking eyes focused on the Earth. These amazing photos offer us a unique window overlooking our world; viewing the Earth from above offers a stunning opportunity to see our wonderful planet in out-of-our-world ways that most humans will never experience in their lifetime. [37 Photos]

Aurora Australis and Daybreak

Aurora Australis and Daybreak. The Aurora Australis, seen at right on Earth’s horizon, and daybreak (left) highlight this ‘busy’ photograph taken by one of the Expedition 30 crew members aboard the International Space Station. Photo #1 by NASA

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Rare Rainbows in the Dark [24 PICS]

August 1st, 2011 Permalink

Rare rainbows in the dark of night, midnight moonbows, are an amazing natural phenomena. A rainbow in the moonlight is several hundred thousand times less bright than a rainbow during the day. A true lunar rainbow is lit by the moon itself. To the naked eye, they can appear white and are also called “white rainbows.” There are a few places in the world where “spray moonbows” are so-called “frequent phenomena” such as near waterfalls in Yosemite National Park, Cumberland Falls in Kentucky, and Victoria Falls in Australia. Here is a collection of these wonderful lunar rainbows and well as a few other natural phenomena that appear a bit like rainbows in the dark. [24 Photos]

Upper Yosemite Falls Moonbow

Upper Yosemite Falls Moonbow. Rainbows in the dark have been delighting the few who are fortunate enough to witness the phenomenon since Aristotle’s time. Photo #1 by Teddy Llovet

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