Great curiosities in nature are often noticed. But sometimes it takes a list to showcase the events that deserve more attention. In fact, some are so strange as to appear fictional – like the air field erasing data and the migration of trillions of stones across the ocean’s surface. For those who like their weird times a little more threatening, there’s a poisonous sea and the first earthquake that, um, boomed.
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10 One crater turned pink overnight
Lonar Lake in India is similar to most other lakes. You know, kind of round and filled with water. But Lonar, created by a meteor strike 50,000 years ago, has recently done something that sets it apart from the rest. In June 2020 the water was cloudy and normal one day – and flamingo pink the next.
At the moment, the lively flip remains a mystery. The leading theory suggests that several factors combine to create the color. A drop in the water level made the lake salty and the days were hot too. This mixture of saltiness and heat triggered an algal bloom. More precisely, a species that often blushes. Only in this case did the bloom go crazy and the overgrowth caused the flamingo moment.
9 Waterfalls flow in reverse
In another insane moment in 2020, someone claimed that several waterfalls in Australia were running backwards. News crews investigated and found a grain of truth. The falls didn’t spin like a movie in reverse mode. In either case, however, misty water flowed back and over the cliffs. As magical as it seemed, the whole thing was a trick of the wind.
A few days before the falls became strange, Sydney and the surrounding areas experienced storm conditions. The winds were strong enough to flood rivers and trigger evacuation orders for many families. But their speed, howling at around 70 km / h, was also strong enough to reverse the course of the falls in the wrong direction. Once the weather calmed down, the falls took on their old appearance.
8th The Red Sea is a natural air killer
The Red Sea lies between Africa and Arabia and is a busy bee. Thanks to the Suez Canal, this is one of the most widely used shipping routes in the world. The air is heavily polluted and the main suspects are clear. Indeed, industrial shipping and the heavy use of fossil fuels in the region don’t exactly fill the air with daisies. Unfortunately, the Red Sea is a busy bee in other ways too.
In 2017, when researchers measured various gases in the region, the math didn’t add up. Even taking into account the gross human pollution, the northern part of the Red Sea had 40 times too much ethane and propane. The only explanation was that both greenhouse gases are naturally released from reservoirs under the sea. The sheer volume that bubbles to the surface makes the Red Sea a natural but major source of air pollution.
7th The Godzilla plume of dust
Every year a cloud of sand leaves the Sahara in Africa and travels across the Atlantic. The technical term for this dust bunny is Saharan Air Layer (SAL). But by 2020 the cloud was so massive that scientists folded in awe and named this year’s cloud “Godzilla”.
The cloud was the largest since the first SAL event was recorded 20 years ago. For some reason, it packed up to 70 percent more sand and, despite its size and weight, managed to travel a greater distance than other Saharan springs. Usually the clouds are planted in the Atlantic. Godzilla passed 8,000 kilometers through the atmosphere and reached the United States.
6th That flash was ridiculously long
Two years ago the weather turned grumpy over Brazil. Some people may have appreciated the thunder and lightning because it was Halloween night after all. But one bolt took things to the limit. When it broke the atmosphere, it ran from the Atlantic coast to Argentina. In total, it was over 700 kilometers long.
The mega-flash was long enough to connect Chicago to Toronto, or even Washington, DC, to Boston. Satellite technology confirmed that this was a new record. The previous champion sang Oklahoma in 2007 and was 200 miles long. Interestingly, no one holds the record for most permanent lightning. This lightning bolt appeared over northern Argentina in 2019 and remained visible for 17 seconds.
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5 Australia’s coast is surrounded by rivers
Nobody argues that Australia is the king of strange ecosystems. But in 2020 a new discovery surprised even the most salted experts. The continent seems to be surrounded by something that cannot be found anywhere else in the world – a network of underwater rivers that cover more than 10,000 kilometers of coastline. While the phenomenon is not unknown, the scale is unprecedented. This alone makes the system one of the most important discoveries in oceanography.
The underwater rivers are possible because their waters are different; denser and heavier than the sloshing of the ocean. They also respond to the seasons. In summer they are weaker, but in winter the cascades become denser and sink to the sea floor, where they flow more strongly.
4th The giant rafts of Volcano F are incredibly large
The name may be boring, but Volcano F is the source of something amazing. This underwater volcano hugs the ocean floor near Tonga and erupts every few years. When that happens, pumice stones are released and then things get interesting.
In 2019, volcano F burped so hard with pumice stone that the floating rocks formed a raft the size of 20,000 soccer fields. For almost a year the raft floated across the ocean to Australia. By 2020, trillions of these rocks washed up the 1,300-kilometer coastline from Queensland to New South Wales. That was not all.
Along the way, every stone picked up organisms such as barnacles, corals and algae. The endless wobbly mass was like a bus that brought new recruits from reef builders to the besieged Great Barrier Reef. The event wasn’t a one-time deal either. Volcano F sends a pumice raft to the reef roughly every five years to get the much needed boost.
3 This blip is NASA’s curse
The earth is a huge magnet. Its magnetic field protects the planet’s atmosphere – and human technology – from the particles of the sun. But this protective bubble has a weak point. This is known as the SAA (South Atlantic Anomaly) and is the only place where solar particles can get into the atmosphere and mess around with expensive equipment.
The SAA extends over a large area across South America and the southern Atlantic. Any space station or equipment that crosses this region is at risk of deleting data or damaging hardware. For this reason, NASA often turns off satellites moving through the SAA until they are back under the proverbial magnetic screen.
2 The Yosemite Fire Fall
In certain years, in February, Yosemite National Park is a spectacular sight. There is a tall waterfall with a delicate drop called horsetail fall. Most of the time it looks like a thousand other waterfalls, but for a few weeks at the beginning of the year, the transformation is so remarkable that tourists flock to the place.
Some call the event a “fire fall” and it is easy to see why. The water seems to have mysteriously disappeared. In its place, orange lava flows over the cliff, glowing with heat, steam and fire. This optical illusion lasts about 10 minutes and is caused by the sunset of the setting sun in the sky. Once the sun falls below a certain point, the waterfall returns to normal.
1 An earthquake that was booming
A normal earthquake is bad enough. But one that suddenly turns around and walks across the same area? Definitely worse. In the past this seemed impossible. Then it happened in August 2016. Nobody noticed the groundbreaking event because it happened deep under the ocean.
A 2020 study discovered the strange quake when researchers analyzed the data from subsea seismometers. Nothing about the development of the earthquake was normal. Since it was born from a simple flaw (the Romanche fracture zone near the equator), it should be a textbook tremor. Instead, the world’s first confirmed boomerang shake was mysteriously released.
It wasn’t hiccups. It was a major earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1. Even more terrifying as it turned, the speed increased. The tremors raced back to the center of the fault at a rate of up to 6 kilometers per second (3.7 miles per second).
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