Earth Day, April 22, marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.
While you probably should be doing your part every day to take care of this planet we call home, today is the day to be extra conscious of your impact.
Let’s try to keep this planet looking and feeling its best, so that we don’t have to ever miss out on these natural phenomena that are so incredible they’ll leave you speechless.
1. Calcifying Lakes
Northern Tanzania’s Lake Natron takes its nickname from the naturally occurring mix of chemicals it contains: mainly sodium carbonate decahydrate and sodium bicarbonate.
2. Steam Towers, Iceland
The area of Hverir is incredibly geothermally active, so much so that these towers of steam and gas rise from boiling bodies of water and mud. When combined with the Northern Lights, this phenomena seems out of this world.
Today nomadic peoples sometimes herd cattle through the region, but people do not live in the Lake Natron basin. The existing lake is a poisonously concentrated remnant of what used to be a huge, freshwater lake 5,000 to 6,000 years ago.
3. Underwater Rivers
Deep sinkholes of cenotes become filled with fresh rain water. The underwater river is formed when the fresh top water meets the exposed salty groundwater. The different density levels of the two waters causes them to layer.
4. The Gateway to Hell, Turkmenistan
The Door to Hell is named for its natural gas fire which has been burning continuously since it was lit by Soviet petroleum engineers in 1971. The fire is fed by the rich natural gas deposits in the area.
5. The Monarch Butterfly Migration, United States and Mexico
Monarch butterflies are not able to survive the cold winters of most of the United States so they migrate south and west each autumn to escape the cold weather. They spend their winter hibernation in Mexico and some parts of Southern California where it is warm all year long.
6. The Flowering Desert, Chile
The flowering desert is a phenomenon where a wide variety of flowers blossom between the months of September and November in years when rainfall is unusually high.
The flowering desert involves more than 200 species of flower.
7. Bioluminescent Waves, Vaadhoo Island, Maldives
This incredible display of glowing blue waves is the result of phytoplankton, which give off bioluminescence, or biological light. Dinoflagellates, a type of phytoplankton, give off a bright blue glow when their cell membrane responds to electrical signals.
8. Turquoise ice formations from Lake Baikal, Russia
Lake Baikal is known as one of the biggest and deepest lake on Earth, holding an astounding 20% of all the world’s freshwater. The water is so pure, you can clearly see up to 130 feet below you, especially in winter when the lake completely freezes over.
9. The Mariana Trench
The bottom of the Mariana Trench located nearly 11 kilometers below sea level in the western Pacific, which makes it the deepest site on Earth.
The Mariana Trench reaches to a depth of nearly 7 miles (if Mount Everest was put at the very bottom, it would still be covered by a mile of water, to give you some perspective). It’s also the home of some of the strangest looking creatures, like this goblin shark.
10. The Everlasting Storm, Venezuela
This is ‘Relampago del Catatumbo,’ otherwise known as ‘the everlasting storm,’ is a unique atmospheric phenomenon generates an estimated 1.2 million lightning strikes a year and is visible from almost 250 miles away.
A supercell is a thunderstorm that is characterized by the presence of a mesocyclone, which is a deep, persistently rotating updraft. Of the four classifications of thunderstorms, supercells are the overall least common. They do, however, have the potential to be the most severe.
12. The Great Blue Hole, Belize
The Great Blue Hole is a large submarine sinkhole, which lies near the center of Lighthouse Reef, a small atoll. It was formed during several episodes of quaternary glaciation when sea levels were lower.
13. Spherical Boulders, New Zealand
The Moeraki Boulders are unusually large and spherical boulders lying along a stretch of Koekohe Beach. The erosion by wave action of mudstone, comprising local bedrock and landslides, frequently exposes embedded isolated boulders.
14. Ice Caves
An ice cave is any type of natural cave that contains significant amounts of perennial ice. At least a portion of the cave must have a temperature below 0 C (32 F) all year round, and when water travels into the cave’s cold zone, it freezes and creates a cave of ice.
15. Lenticular Clouds, Mountainous Areas
As air flows along the surface of the Earth, it encounters obstructions. Where stable moist air flows over a mountain or a range of mountains, a series of large-scale standing waves may form on the downwind side. If the temperature at the crest of the wave drops to the dew point, moisture in the air may condense to form lenticular clouds.
16. Living Rocks, Chile
The sea creature looks exactly like a rock with guts. And, like a rock, it’s also completely immobile. It eats by sucking in water and filtering out microorganisms, and its clear blood mysteriously secretes a rare element called vanadium.
It’s born male, becomes hermaphroditic at puberty, and reproduces by tossing clouds of sperm and eggs into the surrounding water.