Sunday, 6 April 2014

Natural Phenomena

As I mentioned in my previous '50 Things' post, one of the instructions on my list was to, 'Research Natural Phenomenons'. So what is a natural phenomena? It's basically a non-artificial event; something which occurs in nature and is not man made. Some obvious examples are earthquakes, lightning, volcano erruptions, and so on.

I always like to use my own photos as headers for my posts and I thought it was appropriate to share my 'heart shaped moon' picture, though the grainy quality unfortunately distorts the shape a bit. It's also a bit misleading as I'm not actually going to be talking about heart shaped moons in this post, although I do talk about a moonbow...
So that I'm not breaching any copyrights, I've inserted links which will take you to fantastic images of each of the phenomenas I've listed below.

Here's a selection of some of my favourite discoveries:

A moonbow

A moonbow is like a rainbow, but much fainter, and is created when light reflects off the surface of the moon, reacting with moisture in the air. Moonbows can be seen when moonlight shines on the droplets of water and mists created from a waterfall. This provides the perfect environment for the phenomena to occur.
I came across this great blog post where the writer was lucky enough to witness and photograph a Moonbow at Cumberland Falls, Kentucky. See here for a great photograph.
An alternative name for this phenomenon is Lunar Bow, which I think has a lovely ring to it.

Tree Spiders

During the 2010 floods in Pakistan, millions of spiders spun webs in trees, transforming them into cocoons, allowing them to escape the rising waters. The spider web cocoons gave the trees the appearance of a weird grey candyfloss. You can see images of this amazing phenomenon here
Imagine getting stuck up that tree? Eek.

Light Pillars

In very cold weather, when ice crystals are suspended in the atmosphere, light pillars may form in the sky. They form around natural light sources, such as sunlight or moonlight, but also sometimes around streetlights. The ice crystals reflect light back at us, but as we can't detect the crystals, we are tricked into believing there is a pillar of light in the sky. You can see a beautiful photo here of light pillars in Wyoming.
According to some sources, a lot of people who see light pillars report them as UFO sightings.

The Taos Hum

There is a strange phenomena in Taos, New Mexico, where a small proportion of the population report frequently hearing a low frequency humming noise. This was first reported in the 1990s and no one has ever found the source of the hum. The sound is often intensified and much louder in buildings. Here's a video about it here:
There have been similar stories reported in the 1970s in Britsol (referred to as the Bristol Hum) and apparently in Largs in the 1980s!
Are some people gifted with being able to detect higher frequency noises? And what are they; some weird government experiments that no one is supposd to hear? Intriguing...

Green Lake, Austria

This is amazing; the park which becomes a lake! This lake sits at the foot of the Hochschwab Mountains in Austria and in Winter the area is almost completely dry so is used as a park. When the seasons get warmer the ice and snow from the mountains melt, and the basin of land (the park) fills with water, rising to as much as 10 metres in the height of summer. Divers are able to go underwater during this time to discover a floor covered in grass and benches, with fish swimming through the brances of trees. There's some beautiful photographs of this area in both the Winter and Summer, here

The Migration of the Monarch Butterfly 

Monarch Butterflies are unable to survive the colder winters in North America, so migrate to warmer climates in Central Mexico. Apparently Monarch Butterflies are the only insect to migrate to a warmer climate 2,500 miles away every year. Millions of them cluster together on trees. Here's a beautiful video of them here:

It was this striking image of the butterflies together in the forest which inspired me to write a poem, 'Flight of the Butterfly', which won 3rd place at the Scottish Association Writers poetry competition the other weekend.

This was one of my favourite 50 things tasks so far as I've come across interesting things I wouldn't normally have learned about.

And lastly, a wee reminder to check out Charlotte and Catherine's websites tomorrow, in order to read about their Writing Process!


  1. Fascinating post, Vikki - so many natural and beautiful things happen around the world that we usually miss.

    1. Indeed - it made me realise how much I was unaware of within the world!

  2. These are magical, Vikki. Many thanks for this incredible post.

    My favourite are the tree spiders, but these are all beautiful and perfect for inspiring poetry and stories.

    1. Thanks, Joanna. I agree that so much inspiration can be found from all of these types of phenomena.

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