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Hey, Let's Look at Some Amazing Photos of Natural Phenomena Around the World!

Bubblegum pink lakes? Waterfalls of fire? These incredible natural phenomena have to be seen to be believed!

Maria Bailey · 6 months ago

  • travel
Northern Lights, Iceland

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Mother Nature is full of wild and wonderful surprises. Just when you think you've seen it all, she pulls out seemingly unexplainable natural phenomena from up her sleeve — challenging everything you thought you knew. Discover these other-worldly sights right here on planet Earth that will leave you positively awe-struck!

Pink Lake Hillier, Australia

Pink Lake Hillier, Australia

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You'd be forgiven for thinking Photoshop might be at play here, but this extraordinary lake in Western Australia exists, and it's not the only one. It belongs to a series of nearby lakes in this shocking bubblegum pink color — but Lake Hillier (pictured) is the star attraction. Nestled in lush green bushland, surrounded by a rim of sand and the crystal blue waters of the Southern Ocean, Lake Hiller is located on Middle Island, just off the coast of Perth.

Where does this lake get its unique color from, you ask? Well, the jury is still out on that one; however, it most likely has something to do with the presence of a specific species of microalgae that calls the lake its home. This algae, called Dunaliella salina, produces carotenoids (the same natural substance that gives red peppers and carrots their bright colors), which can look orange, red, or pink. Pretty cool, right?

What's even cooler is the vibrant color is permanent: The water stays pink even when it's taken away in a container. While the lake was used for salt mining during the 1900s, today it attracts intrigued tourists from across the world who want to catch a glimpse of this magical natural wonder.

Kawah Ijen Lake, Indonesia

Kawah Ijen Lake, Indonesia

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A stunning aquamarine-hued lake is the last thing you would expect at the summit of a volcano, but that is exactly what you'll find (and more) atop the magnificent Kawah Ijen volcano on the Indonesian island of Java.

The lake's brilliant shade of blue is made possible thanks to a unique cocktail of sulfur and metals. The magic happens when the magma chamber below the volcano pours sulphuric acid directly into the lake, as it combines with a high concentration of dissolved metals. As if a volcano summit lake wasn't dramatic enough, it is surrounded by stones in a shocking shade of electric yellow, also formed by — you guessed it — sulfur. That same chamber blasts a continuous flow of sulphuric gas, and when that gas condenses and falls to the ground, the bright yellow stones are formed.

Northern Lights, Iceland

Northern Lights, Iceland

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There are a number of places where you can witness the magic of the northern lights, but when it comes to the best viewing location, nowhere is primed to deliver the best light shows in the sky quite like Iceland. The northern lights are best seen between 60 and 75 degrees latitude north. Reykjavik, Iceland's capital city, happens to be 64 degrees north, and the country's second-largest city, Akureyri, is just below 66 degrees north. In other words, Iceland is located right in the heart of the action.

But what exactly is the natural phenomenon we call the northern lights? This spectacular sight is caused by electrons being blown out by the solar wind. In other words, the sun releases tiny particles called electrons into the air. These tiny electrons mix with gases in the Earth's atmosphere, which produces the electrifying glow.

“Firefall,” Yosemite National Park, California

Firefall, Yosemite

Steve Corey

We've all seen waterfalls, but have you ever seen a “Firefall”? Each year, around mid-to-late February, Horsetail Fall in Yosemite National Park transforms into a spectacular natural “Firefall” as molten lava appears to flow over the eastern edge of El Capitan. It is, in fact, an optical illusion — but mesmerizing nonetheless — as the rays from the setting sun hit at just the right angle, transforming an otherwise ordinary waterfall into something truly magical.

“Rainbow” River, Colombia

Rainbow River, Colombia

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There are many mythical stories about rainbows — from pots of gold to leprechauns — but this rainbow-hued place doesn't just exist in our imaginations: It's real! Located in Colombia's remote Sierra de la Macarena National Park, the Caño Cristales river transforms into a spectacular rainbow-colored river. During the summer months, an aquatic plant called Macarenia clavigera blooms crimson beneath the rushing waters, creating a "liquid rainbow.”

Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand

Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand

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New Zealand is home to many natural wonders, but perhaps the most mysterious of them all are these colossal spherical boulders scattered across Koekohe Beach! Each boulder weighs several tons and is up to two meters high, yet no one knows how they got there. Scientists explain the boulders as calcite concretions formed about 65 million years ago. Meanwhile, Maori legend has it that the boulders are, in fact, gourds (which were used to carry water) washed ashore from the great voyaging canoe Araiteuru when it shipwrecked upon landing in New Zealand hundreds of years ago. How do you think they got there?

Cave of the Crystals, Mexico

Cristales cueva de Naica

Alexander Van Driessche

Hidden deep below a mountain near Naica, Mexico, the Cueva de los Cristales contains some of the largest known natural crystals in the world: translucent beams of gypsum as long as 11 meters, and some of the heaviest crystals are estimated to weigh up to 55 tons! Researchers believe the largest crystal inside the cave has been growing for more than 500,000 years!

But how did these crystals reach such superheroic proportions? The sauna-like conditions in the cave — the mineral-rich groundwater, combined with the intense heat (136 degrees Fahrenheit) — create the ideal environment for these crystals, allowing them to flourish. While the conditions are great for crystals, it's dangerous for people. Anyone who enters the cave must wear a special cooling suit and limit their time spent in the cave to only 45 minutes.

The Fairy Circles, Namibia

Fairy circles, Namibia

Olga Ernst & Hp.Baumeler

From the name, you might think mythical creatures were at play in creating this seemingly unexplainable natural phenomenon — millions of circular rings creating a honeycomb effect, spanning 1,550 miles across the Namib desert. Adding to the mystery, no one knows with absolute certainty what causes these enchanting creations, but there are many theories. Local legend says they were created by gods who left behind their footprints on the red earth. Perhaps the most compelling explanation can be found in a groundbreaking new study that claims to have gotten to the bottom of this puzzling natural mystery once and for all. Research suggests the fairy circles are formed by a Euphorbia species of plant that releases toxic, water-repelling sap into the soil when it dies, therefore hindering the growth of other grassy plants that creates the barren circle.