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No, you aren't looking at an alien world, but rather a natural phenomenon known as penitentes. They are found at high altitudes and look like tall thin blades of hardened snow or ice. You'll find these ice formations around snow-covered areas in the Dry Andes above 13,120 feet, ranging in size from a half-inch to 16-feet. Continue reading for five more natural phenomena you won't believe exist.

5. Glowing Beach

The glowing beach you see above is caused by marine microbes called phytoplankton, and the most common type of marine bioluminescence is generated by dinoflagellates. Researcher Woodland Hastings of Harvard University conducted a study that for the first time identified a special channel in the dinoflagellate cell membrane that responds to electrical signals, which offers a potential mechanism for how the algae create their unique illumination.


4. Supercell

Just about everyone has experienced a thunderstorm, but think of a supercell as a mega rotating thunderstorm. The most notable feature being a mesocyclone, which refers to a deep, persistently rotating updraft. They're the rarest type of thunderstorm and have the potential to be the most damaging. Tthey are often isolated from other thunderstorms, and can dominate the local weather up to 20-miles away.


3. Ice Circle

An ice circle is basically natural phenomenon that occurs in slow moving water in cold climates. They are thin and circular slabs of ice that rotate slowly in the water and mostly form in eddy currents. Ice circles are most common in Scandinavia and North America, but can also be found in England and Wales. The discs occur in slow moving water in cold climates and can vary in size, with circles more than 49-feet in diameter observed.


2. Gravity Wave Clouds

Scientifically speaking, gravity waves are a mechanism for the transfer of momentum from the troposphere to the stratosphere in the Earth's atmosphere, and are generated in the troposphere by frontal systems or by airflow over mountains. These waves first propagate through the atmosphere without appreciable change in mean velocity, but as the waves reach more rarefied air at higher altitudes, their amplitude increases, and nonlinear effects cause the waves to break, transferring their momentum to the mean flow.


1. Sailing Stones

Sailing stones are a natural geological phenomenon where rocks move and inscribe long tracks along a smooth valley floor without human or animal intervention. These stones purportedly move only every two or three years and most tracks develop over three or four years. There are some rocks that start next to each other may travel parallel for a time, before one abruptly changes direction to the left, right, or even back to the direction from which it came.









This entry was posted on 07/01 03:30am and is filed under Feature, Science, Top 5, Unusual .
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