The Mysterious moving stones of the packed-mud desert of death Valley have been a center of scientific controversy for decades. Rocks Weighing up to hundreds of pounds have been known to move up to hundreds of yards at a time.
Some scientists have proceed that a combination of strong winds and surface ice account for these movements. However,
this theory does not explain evidence of different rocks starting side
by side and moving at different rates and in disparate directions.
Moreover, the physics
calculations do not fully support this theory as wind speeds of
hundreds of miles per hour would be needed to move some of the stones.
The Sailing Stones
When a thick flow cools, it
contracts vertically but cracks perpendicular to its directional flow
with remarkable geometric regularity. In most cases forming a regular
grid of remarkable hexagonal extrusions that almost appear to be made
One of the most famous such
example is the Giant’s Causeway on the coast of Ireland (Shown below),
though the larget and most widely recognized would be Devil’s Tower in
Basalt also forms different but equally fascinating ways when eruptions are exposed to air or water
Blue Holes are giant and sudden
drops in underwater elevation that get their name from the dark and
foreboding blue tome they exhibit when viewed from above in
relationship to surronding waters.
They can be hundreds of feet
deep and while divers to explore some of them. They are largely devoid
of oxygen that would support sea life due to poor water circulation –
leaving them eerily empty.
Some Blue Holes, however, contain ancient fossil remains that have been discovered, preserved in their depths.
Red Tides are also known as
algal blooms – sudden influxes of massive amounts of colored single –
cell alage that can convert entire areas of an ocean or beach into a
blood red color.
While some of these can be
relatively harmless, others can be harbingers of deadly toxins that
cause the deaths of fish, birds and marine mammals.
In some cases, even humans have been harmed by red tides though no human exposure are known to have been fatal.
While they can be fatal, the constituent phytoplankton in ride tides are not harmful in small numbers.
While many see these apparently
perfect ice circles as worthy of conspirancy theorizing, scientists
generally accept that they are formed by eddies in the water that spin
a sizable piece of ice in a circular motion.
As a result of this rotation,
other pieces of ice and flotsam wear relatively evenly at the edges of
the ice until it slowly forms into an essentially ideal circle.
Ice Circles have been seen with
diameters of over 500 feet and can also at times be found in clusters
and groups of different sizes as shown below.
True to their ominous apperance, Mammatus Clouds are often harbingers of a coming storm or other extreme weather system.
Typically composed primarily of
ice, they can extend for hundreds of miles in each direction and
individual formations can visibly static for tne to fifteen minutes at
While they may appear foreboding ther are merely messengers – appearing around, before or even after severe weather.
A circumhorizontal fire rainbow arc occurs at a rare confluence of right time and right place for the sun and certain clouds.
Crystals within the clouds
refract light into the various waves of the spectrum but only if they
are arrayed correctly relative to the ground below.
Due to the rarity with which all
of these events happen in conjunction with one another, there are
relatively few remarkable photos of this phenomena.
Sink Holes are one of the world’s scariest natural phenomena.
Over Time, water erodes the soil
under the planet’s surface until in some cases, quite suddenly, the
land above gives way and collapses into the earth.
many Sink holes occue naturally while others are the result of human intervention.
Displacing groundwatre can open cavities while broken pipes can erode otherwise stable subterranean sediments.
urbam sink holes, up tp hundreds
of feet deep have formed and comsumed parts of city blocks, side walks
and even entire buildings.
Named after peak-hooded New
Mexican Monks (lower right), Penitentes are dazzling naturally –
forming ice blades that stick up at sharp angles toward the sun.
Rarely found except at high altitudes, they can grow up taller than a human and form in vast fields.
As ice melts in particular patterns, ‘valleys’ formed by initial melts have ‘mountains’ in their wake.
strangely, these formations
ultimately slow the melting process as the peaks case, shadows on the
deeper surfaces below and allow for winds to blow over the peaks,
Ever wonder the truth about UFOs?
Avoided by traditional pilots
but loved by sailplane aviators, Lenticular Clouds are masses of cloud
with strong internal uplift that can drive a motor less flyer to high
Their shape is quite often mistaken for a mystreious flying object or the artifical cover for one.
Generally, Lenticular Clouds are formed as wind speeds up while moving around a large land object such as mountain.
Light Pillars appear as eerily upright luminious columns in the sky, beacons cast into the air above without an apparent source.
These are visible when light
reflects just right off of ice crystals from either the sun (as in the
two top images above) or from artifical ground sources such as street
or park lights.
Despite their apperance as near – solid columns of light, the effect is entirely created by our own relative viewpoint.
Like Light Pillars, Sundogs are the product of light passing through crystals.
The particular shape and
orientation of the crystals can have a drastic visual impact for the
viewer, producing a longer tail and changing the range of colors one
The relative height of the sun in the sky shifts the distance the Sundogs appear to be on either side of the sun.
varying climactic conditions on
other planets in our solar system produce halos with up to four Sundogs
from these planets’ perspectives.
Sundogs have been speculated
about and discussed since ancient times and written records decribing
the various attributes of our sun date back the Egyptians and Greeks.
Fire Whirls (also known as Fire
Devils or Tornadoes) appear in or around raging fires when the right
combination of climatic conditions is present.
Fire Whirls can be spawned by
other natural events such as earthquakes and thunderstorms, and can be
incredidbly dangerous, in some cases spinning well out of the zone of a
fire itself to case devastation and death in a radius not even reached
by heat or flame.
Fire Whirls have been known to
be nearly a mile high, have wind speeds of over 100 miles per hour and
to last for 20 or more minutes.
This last phenomena is something most people have seen before – beautifuly orange moon hanging low in the sky.
But what causes this phenomena – and for that matter, does the moon have a color at all ?
when the moon appears lower on
the horizon, rays of light bouncing off it have to pass through a great
deal more of our atmosphere which slowly strips away everything but
yellows, oranges and reds.
The bottom most image is true to
the hues of the moon but has enhanced colors to more clearly show the
differences in shade that illustratre the mixed topography and
minerology that tell the story of the moon’s surface.
Looking at the colors in
combination with the craters one can start to trace the history of
impacts and consequent material movements across the face of our