Weird Natural Phenomena on Earth
Will we ever run out of things to learn about our planet?
Happy Monday! Well, I gotta say, my perspective shift after learning about lightning last week definitely helped my mood over the weekend. I’d still like the sun to come back for a visit, but the grey, rumbling clouds annoy me less now that I can imagine how active they are inside.
The overcast and fog made me crave hot chocolate, which hit a spot I didn’t know I needed filling. I probably drank half a dozen cups over the weekend… judge me all you want; they were delicious. Hot cocoa was the perfect December beverage to sip on while learning about the other crazy, extraordinary natural phenomena on Earth.
In Curious Adventure, we talked about the Maracaibo Beacon, also known as Catatumbo Lightning. Named for the intersection of Lake Maracaibo and Catatumbo River, where lightning strikes more often than anywhere else on Earth.
How often? About twenty-eight times per minute, for nine hours, 300 days a year. I mean, common, that’s astonishing!
Human Beings have been around for how long? And yet, lightning still baffles us. We know it happens due to a collision between hot and cold molecules in the air, creating a static charge. We also know some thunder clouds can carry at least a billion volts of electricity. But we still don’t know how to predict when and where lightning storms will happen. Our current technology can only estimate the next few hours with any accuracy before too many variables make it impossible to know.
But that’s why Maracaibo Beacon is so impressive. Scientists think the topography, or landscape, contributes to its unique predictability. Mainly thanks to being surrounded by mountain cliffs on three sides, while the fourth has a small opening to the warm waters of the Caribbean. This combination provides the perfect conditions for lightning nearly every day when the sun begins to set.
We’re all familiar with lightning and have seen it at some point in our lives, but how often do you consider how wondrous it really is? Our planet has plenty of other weird yet natural phenomenons. We think we have answers for some of them, while others remain a mystery.
I’ve talked about trees before, probably a few times, actually. I suppose it’s because I live in the Pacific Northwest, where trees are everywhere. Also, the more I learn about them, the more fascinated I become. It’s clear now that trees and plants are far more intricate, alive, and even social than we give them credit for.
The Crooked Forest
But sometimes, they do weird things leaving us to speculate about their unusual behavior. For instance, The Crooked Forest in Poland is home to pine trees with distinctively bent trunks. The trees were planted between 1925 and 1928, then abandoned at the start of WWII, in 1939—but the curved trunks remain an enigma.