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Amazing Natural Phenomena

February 09, 2016

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Nature can be gentle, beautiful, and brutal. Most of all, it can be unpredictable and truly amazing to witness! You may not even realize it, but the world is full of strange and rare natural phenomena. 

Bioluminescence

  • Bioluminescence refers to the production of light by a living organism. Yes, a live thing can emit light! 
  • You are probably familiar with fireflies, which is a very common example of a living creature creating light. 
  • You might be surprised to learn that most bioluminescent creatures actually live underwater. 
  • Many types of plankton are bioluminescent. Light is often produced when plankton is disturbed, and served almost as a form of warning or defense mechanism. In some waters, just swimming at night will disrupt the plankton and cause them to light up! 

Bioluminescent plankton light up the shores of the beach on the Maldives. Bioluminescent plankton light up the shores of the beach on the Maldives. Courtesy of Pinterest

Volcanic Lightning

  • Volcanic lightning, also known as a dirty thunderstorm, refers to a natural phenomenon by which lightning is produced during a volcanic eruption, actually inside a volcanic plume. 
  • Scientists are completely sure what causes this wild storm, but the general theory is that positively-charged debris is released into the atmosphere during a volcanic eruption. This debris is then thought to interact with negative charges already there, causing a bolt of lightning. 
  • This phenomenon has been witnessed in Alaska, Iceland, and Italy. 

A volcanic eruption AND a lightning bolt? That seems a bit much!A volcanic eruption AND a lightning bolt? That seems a bit much!Courtesy of National Geographic

Sailing Stones

  • Sailing stones are a strange geological phenomenon by which rocks move across the smooth ground, seemingly without anything propelling them. They even leave a track!
  • Sailing stones have most notably been observed in Death Valley, California, where they mystified scientists for decades!
  • It's only in the last couple of years that scientists have discovered that this phenomenon is likely caused by very thin sheets of ice melting, which, in combination with wind, moves the rocks without any visible interference. 

Sailing stones typically leave a noticeable track, showing where they have come from. Sailing stones typically leave a noticeable track, showing where they have come from. Courtesy of Paul Lovine

Aurora Borealis

  • Aurora borealis, otherwise known as the northern lights or the polar lights, is a naturally occurring light show that frequently illuminates the arctic and antarctic nations of the world.
  • The lights are caused by magnetic energy in the atmosphere, but ancient nations have produced many more colorful explanations, from the possibly Norse belief that the cause was ocean fires, to the Australian Aboriginal belief that the aurora were brought on by dead ancestors. 
  • The name aurora itself comes from the Roman word for dawn. 

The aurora borealis often occur in northern countries such as Finland. The aurora borealis often occur in northern countries such as Finland. Courtesy of allcountries.org

It's really amazing what types of things occur naturally in our world. Nature sure is wild!  

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Have you ever witnessed any of these natural phenomenon? Share your knowledge with our Kidzworld readers!

 

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