These days we’re so quick to point out photos that look Photoshoped or beefed up with computer generated graphics. That said, there are things in this world that are 100% real, yet look completely fake. We’re going to show you some natural phenomena that are actually real, but look like they were the result of graphic manipulation.
1. Calbuco Volcano Eruption in Chile
Of all the natural phenomena, this one has got to be one of the closest to the personification of evil. Most of us already get a chill down our spines at the sight of lightning. You can probably intensify that feeling by 100 when a volcano erupts. With that, imagine what someone would be going through upon laying their eyes on arguably one of the most ominous concoctions of Mother Nature’s displays ever caught on camera.
This combination of the two incredible natural events looks like the location of a final showdown in an action flick or the lair of an menacing overlord in an epic video game. In actuality, it was the epic 2015 eruption the Calbuco volcano in Chile. Spewing a giant column of ash and lava that appeared to look like a sinister face, the scene was althemore stunning with the addition of lightning bolts.
2. Lake Abraham in Canada
Lake Abraham is a beauty like no other in Northern America. You can find this lake resting in the western region of Alberta, Canada. For years, the lake has been deemed one of Canada’s most photogenic locations. This is all because of a very unique effect it has come the winter time.
When the lake freezes over, methane gas trapped under the ice has no means of escaping and ends up forming these oddly shaped white air bubbles below the frozen surface. This stems from bacteria decomposing vegetation at the bottom of the lake, which releases methane which creates this spectacular suspended bubble effect.
3. Spotted Lake in Canada
If you ever find yourself in Osoyoos, British Columbia in the summertime, you have got to check out the Spotted Lake. In the winter and spring, this lake will appear to be like any other in the world. However, come the summertime, the water begins to evaporate and reveal more than 300 mosaic-like mini pools.
Syilx, the native people of the region believe that each individual pool comes with a different healing property. Meanwhile, scientific experts have concluded that each one of these pools has a high concentration of minerals that come from the surrounding hills. The color differences have to do with calcium, magnesium and sodium sulfate levels across the lake.
4. Lake Baikal in Russia
For 25 million years, Siberia’s Lake Baikal has provided one-fifth of the world with clean water. To say that this water is just clean is a huge understatement, as it has the clearest waters on the planet. The water is so clear, in fact, that when it freezes over in the winter time, the ice appears turquoise.
Due to an uneven freeze in March, these turquoise ice sculptures really stand out. A combination of wind and sun molds them in a unique fashion that looks completely unnatural to the human eye. For years, these jutting, gem-like frozen formations have attracted tourists from all around the globe.
5. Impressive Light Pillars
If you find yourself on a desperate trek through Russia amid sub-zero temperatures, you’ll start seeing a lot of strange things. We’re not talking about sledding seals or polar bears drinking down Coca Colas. Behold these colorful pillars of light stretching up hundreds of feet.
We assure you, this isn’t the work of Scotty beaming up Russians abroad the U.S.S. Enterprise. These otherworldly-looking beams of light are actually formed when hexagonal ice crystals found inside of clouds begin to shine. This work of wonder isn’t exclusive to Russia. A similar effect can be emitted by solar energy towers found in America’s deserts.
6. The Red Crabs of Christmas Island
On an annual basis, the citizens of Christmas Island, Australia get to experience a full on invasion of red crabs. While one alone is no bigger than a teacup, these little critters arrive by the millions. Locals stay in doors and roads are completely shut down, as the Indian Ocean island is transformed into 1950s horror B-movie.
The red crabs make their appearance around October or November, during the region’s wet season. Females crabs come in with the currents, lay their eggs on the shore and the retreat back into the abyss. The eggs hatch almost instantly and after a month of lounging by the waters, the crabs begin to take the island by storm.
7. The Darvaza Gas Crater
Turkmenistan is no stranger to the bizarre. That said, it should not be a shocker that one of the most bizarre tourist destinations can be found in the village of Derweze. The gas crater was initially discovered back in 1971 by Soviet engineers. Upon their first evaluation of the site, the ground collapsed revealing a fire-filled crater.
In an effort to counter the poisonous methane gases emitted from the crater, scientists decided to keep it burning. After almost 50 years, the gas crater’s fire is still going strong. The 98-foot-deep flaming pit has fittingly been nicknamed the “Door to Hell” or “Gates of Hell” by tourists.
8. The Crooked Forest in Poland
The wonders that are usually found between the covers of our favorite fairy tales are alive and well within the real world. The Krzywy Las, a forest made up of over 400 crooked pine trees is a living testament to this. These “J”-shaped trees can easily be found outside of Gryfino, Poland.
After decades of rigorous research, scientists have still not discovered the reason behind their unique shape. However, they do have some theories. Back in the 1930s, farmers used to manipulate the tree growing process in an effort to make them easier to cut. They think that the rise of World War II may have disrupted their progress.
9. The Rock Tree in Bolivia
Known in Spanish as “Árbol de Piedra,” or Rock Tree, this enigmatic formation is actually a 100% rock and 0% tree. It’s odd shape is the result of a volcanic formation that took place thousands of years ago. The effects of erosion due to consistent wind and sand have also helped shaped the seven-meter-tall sandstone formation.
Every year sees thousands of tourists flocking to the Sioli Desert in Bolivia to take the ultimate selfie with the Rock Tree. With an extremely thin base and wider upper portion, this natural phenomenon is considered a marval. Time will only tell just how long the gravity-defying rock will remain in its current form like some gigantic ginger root.
10. The Eye of the Sahara
The Sahara is the largest desert in the world. It is a barren wasteland of wonder and possibility that remains largely unexplored till this day. Among the high winds and dunes, though, is a natural wonder called the Richat Structure a.k.a. Eye of the Sahara a.k.a. Eye of Africa. This beauty to behold isn’t the result of an ancient civilization, it was all nature.
The 25-mile-wide elliptical done is the result of the supercontinent pangaea pulling apart. The eye is made up of variation of volcanic rocks which are local to the area. This lead scientist to believe that the raised ground is the result of volcanic activity and water erosion. “Water in the desert?” some of you may be thinking. The Sahara actually part of the Tethys ocean back in the Mesozoic era.
11. The Cenote Angelita Underwater River in Mexico
For most, the mere concept of an underwater river seems like something only possible in fantasy flicks. However, a quick vacation to Cenote Angelita in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula will most likely have people second guessing that thought. One can literally dive down beneath the waters and find a murky underwater river dividing the ocean.
Cenote Angelita is possibly the only location on earth where its possible to combine the watersports of fishing and diving. Behind this river’s existence is a collapsed limestone bedrock that sank and mixed with groundwater. Hydrogen sulfide was produced when the minerals decomposed and the pure water was separated from the muddy lower water.
12. The Cave of Crystals in Mexico
Sparkle lovers behold: the Cave of Crystals in Naica, Mexico. Before you start dreaming, don’t think you can visit anytime soon. This cave got its name for the giant selenite crystals that stretch out across the cave’s 980-foot length. These are crystals like none other in the known world.
These crystals are the result of a combination of the right unique circumstances. Directly below the cave is a magma chamber which heats the groundwater. Over thousands upon thousands of years, the heated groundwater crystalised the hydrated sulfate gypsum. Unfortunately, the cave is 136°F, which is too hot for the average tourist.
13. The Abandoned Village on China’s Shengshan Island
When it comes to natural phenomena, this abandoned village can’t be called completely natural. However, it is still a wonder to behold. One might look at the remnants of this forgotten town and think its from a hundred years ago. In actuality, the village of Houtouwan on Shengshan island was only abandoned back in the early 1990.
Once a thriving fishing village with thousands of resident, the remote location started to see a migration of its inhabitant and was eventually enveloped by a thickage of green vines and overgrowth. It’s now a living testament to how quickly nature can take back what belongs to it. A series of viral photographs turned the deserted village into something of a popular tourist destination in 2015.
14. The Wave in Arizona
Some of the most impressive landscapes in the United States can be found in Arizona and Utah. Most will instantly think of the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. However, one of the most impressive natural phenomena in the area are these wave-like sandstone rock formations on the Arizona-Utah border.
The texture of The Wave has been in the works since the Jurassic age and is the result of high winds and water erosion. Don’t think that you can just jump in the car and head to this magnificent natural phenomenon. You’ll need a permit to hike this wonder and getting one isn’t so easy. The Bureau of Land Management only hands out 20 of them a day.
15. The Blue Hole of Belize
Located in Belize is one of the world’s most famous natural phenomena, the Great Blue Hole. It isn’t the only of its kind, but it’s the biggest and most impressive in the world. In fact, it is one of the only natural phenomena in the world that can be seen from outer space.
In the days of old, the blue hole was actually an above ground cave. Rising water levels were quick to flood the cave. With the flood, the cave’s roof collapsed and left for a grand marine sinkhole in the sea. Today, the spot of this once-magnificent cave is one of the world’s most popular diving spots.
16. New Zealand’s Waitomo Caves
Worms are usually looked upon as gross insects. They are slimy, foul to look at and are primarily useful for fishing bait or bird food. However, the glory of this one of the world’s most beautiful natural phenomena is completely due to worms. No this isn’t a scene out of the epic sci-fi flick Avatar, these are the Waitomo caves in New Zealand.
Living inside the underground cave system are millions of glow worms whose ethereal blue glow creates a spectacle for the eye. The bioluminescent glow worms emit a twinkling blue light up the dark cave walls, providing a natural light show. Tie that in with the cave’s waterfalls and the boat trip inside the natural wonder and you’re looking at an unforgettable holiday.
17. Finnish Lapland Trees
At first sight, these looming white formations bring to mind smoke pillars or salt columns from another world. But, in fact, they are terrestrial beings found right here on our planet. Near the Arctic Circle in Finland’s Lapland Region, the intrepid traveler can witness one of nature’s most chillingly beautiful sights — fields of trees overcome by sub-freezing temperatures, frost and snow.
With temperatures dropping as low as a frigid -40 degrees, this frozen winter wonderland is one of the most captivating natural phenomena around. The photographer of this shot, reportedly camped out in the tundress expanse to get a series of surreal shots at sunrise.
18. Salar De Uyuni in Bolivia
In terms of natural phenomena, Bolivia is perhaps the gem of South America. Not only is it home to the beautiful Rock Tree, but also houses Salar De Uyuni — the largest saltwater flat on the planet and the flattest place on Earth.
You won’t be able to see the Salar De Uyuni in all its glory during the summer season. During those months it is only a salt desert. However, when the wet season rolls around, the relic of a prehistoric lake that dried up becomes a shallow lake that perfectly reflects the sky above. Given how shallow it is, tourists take over worldly pictures that look like they’re walking on water or a giant mirror.
19. Landform at Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park in China
China houses a lot of natural phenomena, but none are like this. While this may look like a drawing that a toddler took a marker to, this is purely the work of nature. These colored rock formations can be found at the Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park in China.
The vibrant colors on the rock formation didn’t happen overnight. The vibrant coloring took 24 million years of sandstones and mineral deposits building up. Since its discovery, the unique rocks have become one of China’s most beloved tourists attractions by both locals and foreigners. In the Chinese National Geography magazine, it was selected as one of the “six most beautiful landforms.”
20. Lenticular Clouds
When it comes to natural phenomena, clouds are at most usually an afterthought. They are something that we can see on an almost daily basis. These marshmallows in the sky have become so commonplace, that they often go completely unnoticed as they float on above us.
Lenticular clouds are something special in the cloud world. They possess an otherworldliness that calls for our attention. When we see one hanging over a mountain or gliding by on the outskirts of town, we can’t help but look up in awe. It probably has something to do with it looking like its hiding a UFO in there.
21. Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees
Most people would walk by this eucalyptus tree and take it for some kind of art project. However, they’d be missing out on appreciating one of the world’s most amazing natural phenomena. This species of rainbow eucalyptus tree native to the Philippines, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea naturally grows different colored bark.
When a layer of bark first peels, it will reveal a beautiful shade of green. Over time this will change colors. The reason why the tree appears rainbow colored, is that its multi-colored layers of bark don’t peel off all at once. Pieces fall off separately and the colors change at their own pace. Sadly, they are often deemed artificial by the masses and go unappreciated.
22. The Tunnel of Love in Ukraine
Some people aren’t swayed by the more ominous and bizarre natural phenomena, and are more about the romance that comes with nature’s soft side. We’re talking to you about Ukraine’s tunnel of love. For years, this two-mile long railroad track surrounded by lush plant life has been a romantic hotspot for couples of all ages.
Before you buy your flight tickets, know that walking this beautiful track should be done with caution in mind, as it is still active. Trains use this beautiful track to ship wood over to local factories. This natural beauty can be found outside of Klevan, Ukraine.
23. The Colorless Fogbow
By now, we know that the rainbow family is quite large. We have the classic rainbow, half rainbow and the ever so famous double rainbow. Many would assume that the family line of arched phenomena ends there, but did you know about the colorless fogbow? This bow is much more of a cousin than an immediate family member. However, the familiarity is all there.
Fogbows form from fog droplets which are significantly smaller than your average raindrop. These drops are so small that sunlight can’t refract from them. That explains the lack of color. That lack doesn’t stop the fogbow from providing its own serene and pure vibes. We wonder what kind of treasure sits at the end of one of these bad boys.
24. The Moeraki Boulders in New Zealand
One of the most popular photo locations in New Zealand is definitely on Koekohe beach. It isn’t due to some amazing waves or wild animals, but only for its natural rock spheres called the Moeraki Boulders. They may look like something created for a movie, but these rock spheres are completely natural.
The formation of these boulders is millions of years in the making, approximately 60 million. They are made from a mix of mud, clay and fine silt and are held together by calcite. For millions of years they were positioned at the bottom of the sea. However. Water levels and currents eventually brought them to the shore.
25. Namib Desert Sea
When the desert meets the sea, it could be the ultimate tease for a weary traveler. One can easily imagine some Lawrence of Arabia like individual dying for a drink and finding themselves at this location before a load of water that is undrinkable. While it’s no mirage, this sight is absolutely surreal to the eye.
Few deserts in the world have seas, but even those don’t compare to the stunning natural beauty and the thick contrast between sea and desert like the Namib desert sea. Years ago, this whole location was isolated. Man would need to cross an entire desert just to see it. These days, you have a handful Namib desert sea resorts to choose from.
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