You may have heard of strange natural phenomenon, but due to their rarity may have never had the pleasure of experiencing them first hand. While we can’t call forth some amazing events for you to witness, we can put together this list of the ten strangest natural occurring events, complete with video proof!
If you happen to hear this incredibly unsettling noise billowing throughout the sky, we don’t blame you if your first instinct is to run, hide, and put on your aluminum foil cap. Worry not, though; the boisterous trumpeting is not an invading race of aliens – that we know of. It is an extremely bizarre and amazing event that NASA believes to simply be “Ambient Earth Noise.” It seems like a fairly obvious non-answer as scientists continue to be stumped by Earth’s trumpeting, so we might as well just sit back and enjoy the musical accompaniment that our planet offers us from time to time.
Humans are not the only things that can spontaneously combust. Apparently, rocks are prone to doing so as well. Just like humans, Earth is known to “exfoliate” and shed its outer layer. The process that leads to the impending explosion starts with the heating of surface rock, which expands the hotter it gets. As the night cools, the rock contracts and the process continues until the rock is weak enough to crack and, as our friendly scientists in Tuolumne County, California learned, possibly explode. Though the explosions are not normally dangerous, this recorded event led to a crack in a nearby dam, forcing Twain Harte Lake to be drained.
Scientifically known as “icicles of death,” brinicles are a strange and rare phenomenon that is actually deadly to some of Mother Nature’s more helpless critters. These underwater icicles form when salt is forced out of sea ice. As the salinity of the surrounding water increases, it becomes denser and the ice begins to sink until it reaches the seabed. It’s at this point that the brinicle becomes dangerous. As it touches the sea floor, webs of ice form and spread like a disease, freezing whatever is in its path, including anything that may be trying to simply live their life.
Apparently earthquakes weren’t frightening enough, so some of them start with imposing flashes of light in the sky, otherwise known as earthquake lights. Everything from UFOs to the Lord Almighty him or herself have been blamed for these pre-quake flashes, but the very rare spectacle may be a bit less supernatural in nature. While a mystery for quite some time, scientists believe they’re honing in on the cause, believing that it all has to do with the electrical properties of rocks like basalt and gabbro. When placed under stress, these rocks release electrical charges which can combine with one another and form a plasma which eventually bursts into the air. Psst, But you can still blame aliens, though. We won’t tell.
This incredible natural event could very well be the basis of a few UFO sightings. During a 2012 thunderstorm in Qinghai, Chinese researchers were said to have caught the first ever scientific recording of the rare phenomenon. The ball of light appears as a glowing orb for less than two seconds, traveling approximately 50 feet or 15 meters before vanishing. Ball lightning typically appears during a thunderstorm and is thought to be the product of lightning striking the ground and vaporizing some of the minerals, causing a chemical chain that forms filaments which then look like a glowing ball. Most eyewitness reports of ball lightning state it lasts for mere seconds.
The River of Sand
Okay, so it’s not really a river of sand that flowed through a region in Iraq in 2015, but many were probably fooled if they had just watched the footage with no prior knowledge. The unusual stream is believed to have been comprised of several blocks of ice which were rapidly moving. The river of frozen water was a product of a freak instance of rain and hail storms in an area that is typically very arid. What looks like sand is actually the hail that fell being washed downstream by the heavy flow, creating the illusion of a flowing stream of desert.
Who doesn’t love a good rainbow? Iridophobics, that’s who; but that’s beside the point. The point is if you love rainbows, you’re going to thoroughly enjoy catching a lunar rainbow. These night time rainbows, or moonbows, occur when the Moon’s light reflects and refracts off of droplets of water. It’s essentially the same process as their daytime counterparts, but there are more factors involved that make them a rare phenomenon. If the Moon isn’t on the verge of being full and is higher than 42 degrees from the horizon, you can pretty much kiss your chance of seeing one of these beauties goodbye.
They have a pretty name and are beautiful, rarely occurring in nature, but don’t expect to go out picking frost flowers to give to your beloved. These unusual floral displays occur typically in autumn and early winter when thinly layered ice is pushed out of plant stems. The silky-looking ice flowers form cracks in their stems in freezing temperatures when the sap begins to expand. It’s through these cracks that the ice slips out of, curling in forms that look like flower pedals. Thanks to time lapse technology, we’re able to see this phenomenon occur.
With around 3 dozen suspected cases reported as far back as 1861, rogue waves are considered a freak phenomenon believed to be caused by the joining of waves or swells and have no known pattern. These dangerous occurrences look like your average wave, just, you know, bigger and far more threatening. By the instances caught on camera, it’s easy to see the devastating effects of rogue waves as they take seemingly no effort to topple vessels of all sizes. A rogue wave is defined as a wave with a height more than twice the significant wave height, a variable described as the mean of the largest third of waves in a region’s wave record.
Ever have a fish jump out of its aquarium to its death, making you believe you were the worst owners ever and that your precious little Bubbles needed to end its misery? Well, this may be the more extreme version of that. Fish have been known to appear ashore en masse, but this video of thousands of Ikan Tamban, or sardines, is a bit shocking and, for the villagers of Lahad Datu, probably a little unsettling. Dr. Saleem Mustafa, Director of Borneo Marine Research Institute at the Universiti Malaysia Sabah, believes the event was a simple effect of oceanographic conditions and isn’t entirely unheard of, but that doesn’t make it less bizarre, especially if you’re experiencing it first hand.