Our planet is so breathtakingly beautiful that it’s a pity we can’t step out of our comfort zones, every once a while, to savor its famous attractions. There are so many meadows to explore, so many seas to swim, so many mountains to climb, so many volcanoes to get frightened by, so many deserts to roam, but our monotonous routines keep us so busy that we can’t spare the time for a retreat.
In addition to all the captivating, colorful landscapes, we are also blessed with some of the most unbelievably crazy natural phenomena. From volcanic lightning to picturesque mountains, and from white rainbows to never-ending fires; our world is full of some fantastical, awe-inspiring occurrences.
In this article, we will talk about 50 of the strangest happenings from around the world that you didn’t know about.
The Beautiful Danxia Landforms
Wind and water are both entities that don’t hold any shape of their own, but they certainly have it in them to shape things which they encompass. If you visit the Danxia landforms in the outskirts of China, you will see both W’s in action.
The wide-stretching landscape has been painted in beautiful colors and forms by the strong gusts of water and wind. Some mountains have a bright rusty color while others are blue and green and yellow. The contouring is genuinely spectacular. Be like the wind and the water; be shapeless but hold the capability to shape others! And if you visit the Danxia Landforms in China, you can witness how the wind and water have shaped up an entire valley into a fascinating piece of land!
Gateway to Hell
If something is named “Gateway to Hell,” you already get an idea of the type of place it’s representing. The pictures don’t do justice to this frightening pit in the Karakum desert in Turkmenistan, which basically looks a lot like hellfire.
You might think that this was a natural phenomenon of some sort, but it isn’t. The gateway to hellfire was actually started by a few petroleum engineers, almost half a century ago. They didn’t put the fire out, and it has been producing enough energy ever since to sustain itself.
The Bewildering Sky Punch
You must have seen a giant hole suddenly appear within the sky, in movies or TV shows, right? Most of the times, the holes act as a conduit for spaceships to enter the Earth’s atmosphere, but if you thought that these phenomena didn’t happen in real life too; well, then you were wrong.
Fallstreak hole or a sky punch is a huge gap, usually elliptical or circular in shape, which can be formed in the sky when the icy crystals present within and near the clouds start to evaporate. This natural process creates a hole in the sky, which is a sight both captivating and unfathomable to the naked eye.
The Richat Structure, or the eye of the Sahara, is a beautiful circular presence in the middle of the Saharan desert, near the Adrar Plateau. When viewed from an aerial point of view, the structure resembles a human eye so much, that it was named after it.
The Saharan Eye can even be viewed from outer space. It boasts a variety of colors, ranging from blue to green, to blue. It has a diameter of around 40 kilometers. Geologists regard the Richat structure as a massively eroded geologic dome.
The Monarch Butterfly Migration
This might not be crazy, but it indeed is crazy beautiful. Watching hundreds of thousands of butterflies migrate before the winters to warmer habitats is a sight for sore eyes.
As soon as October approaches, a kaleidoscopic collection of butterflies can be seen decorating the skies from North America to Mexico. The butterflies are all almost the same in terms of color, but they fly and swirl in different fashions which makes you want to sing and dance under the warm sun.
Steam Eruptions, Hverir
We all loved to play in the mud as children. However, we never experienced mud that suddenly started boiling and releasing warm rays of stream that would cut our playtime in half.
Well, if you might be into such an eerie natural occurrence, you can head over to Hverir in Iceland, where the steam eruptions can make you scratch your head and ponder in disbelief. When you see them from afar, they appear so beautiful and calm; only when you go near, can you hear and feel the hotness and muddy chaos.
The Columnar Basalt
Basalt is beautiful, strange rocks that can join together to form impressive, mind-boggling natural sculptures and structures. These high facades might look like they are man-made, but they are anything but. Over time, the accumulation of rocks like basalt can lead to the formation of strong structures that look like they have been designed by someone artistic.
Bewildering as the concept may seem, it is entirely natural and involves no human intervention. On the very first look, these facades might deceive you into believing they are artificial. But don’t hold this delusion for long as they are purely one of the crazy creations of nature!
Nacreous Clouds in the Antarctic
The sky above us gets painted in so many different colors depending on the weather and other atmospheric variables that we are treated to beautiful views, every now and again. These clouds might look artificially generated, but they are as real as you and me.
If you head over to the polar regions during twilight hours, you can see them flourish with sheer grandeur. Also known as the mother of pearls, the clouds only appear after sunset, just before dawn.
Dragon Blood Trees
At first glance, you must be thinking that their shape is what makes these trees strange, but there is a lot more to them meets the eye. These dragon blood trees have a unique characteristic that makes them so aptly named.
They secrete a red-colored fluid, also known as a sap, which makes them different from all the other trees in the world. You can find these trees in Yemen. Surrounded by rocky terrain and sweeping landscape, they surely are a treat to watch and savor.
Mistook these clouds for a spaceship, or a strange flying object? No need to be embarrassed, you are not the first one to be fooled by these spectacularly shaped, stationary clouds.
Anybody can become used to seeing them with the snow-capped mountains in the backdrop. When you look closely, they look like they have been arranged in lens-like formations, and the wind has to be credited for that. The flow of the wind forces the clouds to stay stationary at a perpendicular angle.
The Fairy Circles
Fairy Circles must be representing something truly magical or surreal, right? Yes, that’s the case. Found in abundance in grasslands and pastures of Namibia, these fairy circles are genuinely one of the craziest occurrences of our planet.
What makes them so distinct is that the land upon which they are present is entirely barren, yet in their surroundings, there are patches of fertile ground where you can see vegetation grow, almost as if the land was perfect for growing plants.
Lakes from around the world are captivating, peaceful, and incredibly beautiful. But, can you ever imagine there to be spots scattered throughout a lake? Like, spots of various sizes just present all across the lake? Well, unbelievable as it may sound, Osoyoos is home to a spotted lake that blows your mind away.
What happens is that the salty water of the Osoyoos lake starts to evaporate during the summer, and since the water is highly concentrated, it contains a ton of colorful minerals, which are left behind. These minerals are what form spots at the top of the lake.
Strange Underwater Crop Circles
Circles at the surface of a lake can be strange, but underwater crop circles take the oddity to a whole new level. How do these underwater crop circles even form? It’s easy to understand the formation as long as they stay on the surface, but down there?
The phenomenon was first observed back in 1955 when scientists saw a collection of circles appear at the bottom of the ocean. They couldn’t really figure out the cause because of lack of apparatus, and perhaps, motivation, at the time, but the mystery has since been solved. These circles are formed by the male pufferfish which are trying to attract the females for mating purposes.
The Morning Glory Clouds
Clouds usually glide in and out of shape very quickly, but sometimes they stay stationary in odd but captivating shapes, because of some underlying, thought-provoking causes.
If you are lucky enough, you might be able to see these bizarrely shaped, stationary clouds, in all their glory. These morning glory clouds arrange themselves in large rows of waves which looks very unreal at first glance. You can observe them if you are lucky enough while flying over Burketown, a town in Australia.
Fire rainbows are not aptly named because they don’t necessarily have anything to do with fire; at-least not directly. They are however lovely to look at.
As you can see in the picture, these rainbows can sometimes spread beautifully across the sun, almost engulfing it. Enjoying one on a sunny morning with a cup of hot coffee in hand can genuinely be a great start to the day.
Methane Bubbles in Frozen Lakes
When strange scientific stuff happens within a water body, we are always treated to some of the most captivating, awe-inspiring events. This accumulation of methane underneath the surface of this frozen lake is one such event.
The water of the Canadian Abraham Lake is home to a lot of bacteria and other microorganisms. As the organic matter (corpses of aquatic animals and dead plants etc.) start to accumulate in the water, the bacteria begin to decompose them, which leads to the release of methane. The methane gas then freezes, and its frozen bubbles appear so beautifully trapped within the lake, that you are made to gasp in amazement.
When you see and hear this event for the first time, you find it hard to guess why it is happening and what is causing it. When you look closely, however, you unravel a secret incredible and unbelievable.
This captivating view of the evening ocean is actually hundreds of thousands of starlings arranging them in different shapes and humming their songs during the process. Next time you visit Denmark, make sure you hear the starling murmur!
An Underwater River
No, you didn’t read that wrong. Yes, we are talking about a river, under…water. A river inside a river. How in the world can that be possible?
Well, it is, and it goes to show just how crazy the world around us is. If you want to see for yourself, all you have to do is buy an oxygen tank and dive into the underwater world of Cenote Angelita in Mexico. The huge Hydrogen Sulfide deposit at the bottom of the river makes it look like a whole another river is flowing within the main river.
We all love seeing mummies come back to life in movies, but when a lake makes a mummy out of you, you are gone for good. Wait, what?
Yes, you heard that right. The Deadly Lake in Tanzania (Aka Lake Natron) does actually turn living things like plants, animals, and birds into calcified mummies. Since the lake is full of calcium carbonate, it can virtually calcify any living being that pays it a visit. So, if you were thinking about a swim, think again perhaps?
If there is one thing common among all the rainbows from around the world, it must be the spectrum of various colors that they boast. Right? Well, no. There are actually some naturally formed rainbows which don’t contain more than one or two colors.
A white rainbow, also known as a fogbow doesn’t have a lot of colors. Most of the time, the boundary of the rainbow is red in color, while the rest of it completely appears blue or white. This is because the fog droplets present in the air fade out all the other colors.
The Eerie Mammatus Clouds
Sometimes we stare at the sky to gaze at stars; other times we stare at it to talk to the moon. Never do we stare at the sky to be left baffled and frightened. However, if you happen to every witness the sky while it was covered by mammatus clouds, you wouldn’t be looking back up again anytime soon.
This unnatural phenomenon looks so fantastical that at first, you look around to make sure whether it’s really happening on its own or not. The clouds look like they are hanging from the sky via invisible strings, and the whole aura of the sky is scary as heck!
A beach is always a cool place to hang out during the day, although some people also prefer to visit in the night when there is a lot more tranquility and silence. However, not many night visitors are treated to bioluminescent waves.
If you happen to be passing by the Vaadho Island in the Maldives at night, you might see one of the most remarkable natural occurrences in the world. The beach gets so beautifully illuminated, it looks as if somebody laid out a perfectly arranged set of blue fireflies across it. This phenomenon is also known as magic light and is in fact caused by the phytoplankton present in water.
Rainbows can be seen over mountains, they can be seen at the horizons while on a voyage across the Pacific, they can be seen in a rainforest; however, you would never expect to see them on tree trunks. Right?
Wrong. There are actually some eucalyptus trees that have different beams of colors running along their barks, which makes it look like someone is projecting rainbows onto them. Most of the times, the observable colors are purple, orange, maroon, green, and blue; however, you can also see others from time to time.
Clouds can be so mesmerizing at times, that you just can’t believe your eyes. They can take so many different forms and produce so many different crazy events that we had to include them so many times on our list.
These asperities clouds, however, are so rare that we haven’t observed them in the last decade. They are widely considered the rarest natural occurrence. The last time we saw them was in 2009 when they were formed in the aftermath of a storm.
A lot of eerie things happen in the Arctic regions of the world, and we are sure that many still haven’t met the human eye. Can you imagine steam coming out in the freezing cold temperatures of the Arctic? And not just a little steam, a never-ending storm of steam? Well, just because you haven’t, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
Snow chimneys are actually quite common in Antarctica. Whenever a volcano’s opening unfreezes, a huge amount of steam rises from within it, and it looks as if there is a huge chimney placed amidst the mountains.
Some of the craziest occurrences around the world lead to beautifully colored, fascinating specimens. The striped icebergs of Antarctica are no exception.
There are icebergs everywhere you see in freezing cold Antarctica. However, some of them are more beautiful than the rest. Different color stripes run along their body, and they look almost unbelievable because everything else in the arctic regions is colorless.
The Deadly Supercell Storms
You might have heard of tornadoes, hurricanes, and tsunamis, but have you ever heard of supercell storms? Well, they are only the scariest natural thunderstorms to have ever hit humans. Their name sounds so creepy and dangerous, and their force lives up to the bidding.
Even though supercell storms are incredibly rare, when they do happen, they cause a lot more damage than traditional storms. They usually occur in high, moist plains, and are more reckless and unpredictable, than you can imagine.
The Frost Flowers
You would imagine there to be no plantation in the arctic regions, let alone flowers. Right? How can plants grow and/or flowers blossom in such freezing weathers? Well, that’s the beauty of nature. It does things that you sometimes can’t even imagine.
While these flowers are nothing like the flowers you and I are used to seeing, they are beautiful nevertheless. These frost flowers on the sea surface are actually crystal formations which appear as a result of falls and rises in the temperature.
The Mesmerizing Light Pillars of Russia
Russia is a frigid country and sometimes, a lot of crazy natural occurrences take place in the country, courtesy the cold weather. Across the sky, you can see beautiful light pillars spread across the sky.
The science behind this event is actually reasonably straightforward. Since there are a lot of ice crystals present in the environment, the light from the moon and the sun strikes against these crystals, resulting in light columns of various colors.
How crazy must something be to be named hair ice? How can the words hair and ice combine to represent a single entity? Well, we live to be amazed, don’t we? There are actual entities that form as a result of special circumstances that are known as hair ice.
As unbelievable as the concept may sound, hair ice is actually a real phenomenon. It’s natural too. When water droplets make their way through the ice that has accumulated over dead twigs, pile or leaves, or small branches, they freeze and assume a shape which makes them look like hair.
Stones that sail on their own? What? Do they move from point A to point B, without any external force? Well, not quite, but it does look like they slide reasonably effortlessly. But still, stones moving on their own, without any gusts of wind pulling them away, would be a sight worth enjoying?
The strange occurrence takes place when the ice melts, and it makes the stones move as if somebody were pushing them. Even huge rocks manage to slide a long distance because of a decrease in the friction between their surface and the ground.
Blue Icelandic Ice
Surely ice can’t be anything but white, right? Well, no. Glacial ice can be blue at times too. We really do live in a crazy world, don’t we?
Iceland is a country with a small population, but they are home to some of the world’s most awe-inspiring glaciers. As you can see in the picture, this mighty glacier is afloat in the cold waters, and what’s more, it’s beautifully blue in color.
We have all seen storms come and go, if not personally, then at least on the news, or in cinema, but have you ever heard of a storm that never ends? Wouldn’t that be frightening? Well, it would be, and it is since it’s real.
Venezuelans don’t pray for the storm to be over, they just pray for it to wreak as little havoc as possible. This never-ending storm brings with itself a lot of lightning and thunder, which makes people tremble for days!
Any type of storm would be crazy, but you don’t really know about storms if you haven’t heard about or seen maelstroms. If you saw one in a movie, you might have wondered, “Surely, this can’t be real?” but they are as real as you and I.
Maelstroms are powerful whirlpools that can swallow animals, humans, and even some small ships within a fraction of a second. Once you are trapped within a maelstrom, there can be no getting out.
Volcanoes are frightening because many people think that they are analogous to hell, but if you paint the fire within a volcano with blue, they can become a lot easier to look at.
Wait that is possible? Yes, it is. Blue volcanoes do exist, and they are not just figments of our imagination. To see one, all you have to do is visit Indonesia, where the blue volcano stands with all its glory.
Turquoise Ice in Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal in Russia is one of the deepest lakes in the world, and it contains around 20% of all the freshwater in the world. You would think that its uniqueness would end there, but it doesn’t.
The lake is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it also contains something incredibly beautiful. Since the water is absolutely fresh, when it freezes down, it forms turquoise ice. The sight is truly breathtaking!
The Great Blue Hole
Anything slightly different happens in the underwater, it’s bound to get labeled creepy. However, this great blue hole is definitely all kinds of scary and crazy. When you see it from an aerial vantage point, it appears to be black in color, and you wonder whether it’s a portal to a different world.
It’s actually a cave which was engulfed by the sea as the water levels began to rise. The great blue hole is 318 meters wide and 124 meters deep. You can see many similar holes in Egypt, Australia, Guam, Bahamas, and Belize.
When you look at these giant rocks for the first time, you wonder just how they assumed this precisely carved out shape and size on their own. Unless you seem them for real, you can’t really believe that they do, in actuality, exist!
These spherical boulders, also known as the Moeraki Boulders, can be seen in Oamaru in New Zealand. They are present in a large amount, and they often have some sort of scaling running throughout their surfaces.
The Fleeting Ice Caves
Some crazy happenings on this list leave you with your mouths wide open and your eyebrows raised, while others, on first glance, make you go, “That can never happen.” Ice caves could be an example of the latter.
While it might seem preposterous to imagine the existence of ice caves outside the fantastical cinema, they do actually exist. As you can see in this picture, the entirety of the cave gets outlined with ice. This happens when the temperatures stay below 0°C for over a year or so. Even though these icy caves don’t persist for an extended amount of time, they do captivate the onlookers for as long as they do.
You might have heard the term “Aurora” before, but do you know what it really means? An Aurora, or northern lights, or polar lights, or southern lights, is a beautiful, natural display of light in the sky. It looks so surreal that you almost feel as if somebody took a paintbrush and made a canvas out of our sky.
Most of the time, an aurora can be seen in high latitude regions. The mesmerizing beauty of the landscape in this picture is complemented by the showy aurora which boasts a myriad of different colors. An aurora is typically formed when a sea of charged particles (protons and electrons) enter the atmosphere and collide with each other by the millions.
A Pororoca is a collection of massive waves (up to 12 feet high) that can travel at unfathomable speeds of around 800 k/mph. These perennial waves can be seen in the Amazon river and other rivers adjacent to it. The sound of the wave splashing is so strong that it can instill fear in the hearts of those nearby.
Some surfers visit the Amazon river to let the waves give them a good-old adrenaline rush. However, since the facilities near the Amazon river are scarce, and since there isn’t much in terms of emergency support either, many people consider the Pororoca surfing a bit risky.
The Forest of knives
Madagascar is home to some of the craziest happenings from around the world. You will find some of the most unique animals here, and you can also see some mesmerizing landscapes scattered all across the country. However, did you know that it is also home to a place known as “The Forest of Knives”?
Something must be truly cool to be named that, right? Well, yes. The forest spreads across an area of 666 square kilometers, and it’s laden with rocky formations that appear as knives, especially from an aerial vantage point. The forest of knives has been a major tourist attraction in Madagascar for many years.
Awe-Inspiring Volcanic Lightning
Volcanoes are frightening, and so are thunderbolts. Surely, we can never expect to see both of these natural phenomena mangled up together? Well, as a matter of fact, we can.
Volcanoes can actually emit lightning, you just haven’t seen one yet. Even though it’s scarce to see such an occurrence, but sometimes when volcanoes erupt, the release of high amounts of energy also leads to the production of lightning. Merely imagining the picture in your mind can give you goosebumps!
The Fields of Web
Webs everywhere! Sounds creepy, doesn’t it? Imagine being the residents of this area where the spiders have taken over all the fields, trees, and even rooftops with their painstakingly knit webs.
Spiders do like fancy webbing and the first chance they get to strut their stuff, they show you exactly what they are made of. Most of the times, we can see large webs after natural disasters like floods. In this picture, an army of spiders took shelter in a small place after a flood-hit town, and started knitting webs throughout the area!
Yes, beautiful and strange rocky formations are crazy natural occurrences, but you don’t find them impossible to fathom, right? However, will you believe us if we tell you about rocks…that are alive? No, no need to readjust your glasses, you did read that absolutely right! We are talking about living rocks!
Whenever you have looked at rocks, at any point in your life, if there was one thing you never doubted, it was that they weren’t living things. However, there are strange creatures in our world that look exactly like rocks and are alive. They breathe just like all living things, and they even reproduce.
Red Crab Migration
Seeing crabs on roads is a strange thing on its own, but when you add a whole army of crabs to the mix, things get a lot eerier! During October and November, every year, Christmas Island in Australia sees thousands of red crabs migrate to find potential soulmates.
The traffic on the island has to be routed during these times to allow the crabs to safely relocate themselves. Australians are accustomed to seeing the wildlife join in on the metropolitan action, but this is strange even for them.
Cave of the Crystals
There is a cave almost 300 meters beneath the ground in Naica, Mexico, where you can find massive formations of crystals. The cave is connected directly to the Naica mine. The main hall of the cave mainly consists of selenite crystals, that is widely regarded as one of the largest naturally formed crystals in the world.
The largest crystal found in the cave was 55 tons heavy, had a height of 12 meters, and a width of 2 meters. When it was possible for scientists to access the cave, it was immensely hot, reaching temperatures around 58°C, with humidity around 90-99% as well. These factors are the main reasons behind the cave still being relatively unexplored.
Deserts have been notorious for being wide, barren, dusty and lifeless. Have you ever heard of a desert so cool that you could see the reflection of the sky underneath your footsteps? If not, then you are not alone. However, a fascinating desert like this does exist in Bolivia.
The Salar De Uyuni is also known as Heaven on Earth, and it makes sense to call it that. Predominantly a salt desert, it makes you feel like you are standing on a huge, real-life mirror. As you can see in the pictures, a beautiful, almost-perfect reflection of the azure sky can be seen beneath the feet of the walkers. Not many cooler places to be!
Sardine of South Africa
You must have seen a collection of fish swimming in a water body on a TV show or documentary at some point in your life, but believe us, you have never seen a group of sardine swim across the South African coasts.
Billions, even trillions of sardines can be seen racing through the waters, as a group, between May and July. The phenomenon is so bewildering, only because of the large numbers, that you can’t believe it until you see it for yourself.
The Green Flash Sunset
Last on our list of the craziest natural phenomenon from around the world is the green flash sunset. This beautiful, natural occurrence can be observed as the sun starts to bid farewell to the horizon. Even though the moment lasts for a few seconds, those who are able to take it in, sing its praises for days to come.
As the sun starts to set, its rays begin to bend around the edges and appear green in color. You wouldn’t expect a sunset to ever appear green in color, but there is science that backs this crazy phenomenon. The sight is very captivating and picturesque.