15 Photos of Natural Phenomena That Will Take Your Breath Away

Nature loves to show its powers, and when it does, it’s often awe-inspiring. It reminds us again and again that despite our civilization’s achievements, we are only small beings, incapable of ever fully mastering the natural world around us.

Here are 15 shots of natural phenomena so beautiful that it can be difficult to believe they actually exist until you’ve seen them with your own eyes.

Gruner See (The Green Lake)

© emgn

The Gruner See (or Green Lake) in Austria, with its incredibly clear emerald water, is constantly changing in size and depth. In winter it becomes merely a large puddle, with its floor barely 1-2 metres across.

© Marc Henauer

In summer however, its depth reaches 12 metres, and part of the park around it — with its footpaths, bridges and benches — resembles the lost world of Atlantis. It’s a fantastic place for divers.

The ’Giant Bear’ Shadow

© huffingtonpost

The Shadow of the Bear appears just two times a year in the mountains of North Carolina, USA, bringing with it large numbers of tourists. It can be seen each day for no more than half an hour only at the end of October through to the start of November and from the middle of February to the start of March.

Cocoon Trees


These fantastical cocoon trees appeared in Pakistan after the terrible flooding of 2010. Millions of spiders climbed up into the trees to save themselves from the rising waters, braiding every inch of the foliage with their silky webs.

The Pink Lake

© tuxboard

Lake Hillier, located in south-west Australia, is perhaps one of the most impressive places on the planet. It retains its pink colour all year round regardless of temperature, and the water looks the same even when bottled. It’s believed the color is the product of micro-organisms living in the water. Swimming in the lake is completely safe.

Goats in Argan Trees

© Fred Dunn

Pastures are the most ordinary thing you can see in the countryside of Morocco. It’s also perfectly ordinary to see whole herds of goats climbing the Argan trees that litter the fields, in order to feast on their fruit. This sight never fails to impress the tourists.

The Rainbow River

© Eric Pheterson

The Cano Cristales river in Colombia looks just like any other in the first half of the year. But then, between June and December, it takes on a wondrous multicolored hue. Various different kinds of algae that are affected by the weather change color, turning shades of red, dark blue, yellow, orange and green. Locals refer to it as the River of the Five Colours.

Millions of Crabs Migrating to the Sea

© huffingtonpost
© pinterest

Every year, around 43 million land crabs on Christmas Island move to the shore of the ocean in order to lay their eggs. The local authorities close the majority of the island’s roads for a week to allow them to make their journey.

The Blue Volcano

© Stephane DAMOUR

The Ijen Volcano in Indonesia ejects flows of blue lava. This is the result of burning sulphur dioxide, which has a temperature of 600°C

The Moving Rocks of Death Valley

© Trey Ratcliff

In one uninhabited valley in the USA, it’s possible to observe a truly unique geological phenomenon: fragments of rock moving across the smooth soil seemingly of their own accord, leaving long traces in the ground behind them. Scientists have been studying the mysterious rocks since the 1970s. Some of them have developed one main theory to explain what’s going on that hypothesizes that the vortices forming over a nearby lake push the rocks along tiny pieces of ice that appear overnight.

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves

© forevergone

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are one of the most captivating sights in New Zealand. Just imagine: you’re sailing on a boat along a quiet underwater river, and the rock formations above you are studded with thick, turquoise-colored constellations of fireflies. The impression is such that you feel like you’re travelling through the depths of the cosmos.

The Eye of the Sahara

© Daniel Oines

The so-called Eye of the Sahara, or the Richat Structure, is a geological formation, 50 kilometres wide, that looks like a giant eye when viewed from space — complete with an iris and pupil. It was once used as a reference point by astronauts, due to the fact it stands out so strikingly from the otherwise uniform African desert.

Fire Rainbows

© hannah the sailor

A fire rainbow is a rare optical effect that occurs when the rays of the Sun are refracted through ice crystals in the clouds high above the Earth. They’re seen most often in summer when the Sun is high on the horizon.

Rotating Thunderstorms

© symbiostudios

A rotating thunderstorm or ’supercell’ is a very rare, but extremely dangerous kind of storm that forms when cold, dry air encounters tropical warm air. They’re most widespread in the Great Plains of the USA, in the so-called Tornado Valley. Provided you’re at a safe distance, they’re an incredible sight.

The Martian Landscape of Namibia

© Sally Shaheen

Of course, it isn’t really the same as the landscape on Mars, but it’s very similar. Mummified acacia trees stand against a background of the tallest sand dunes in the world, strikingly beautiful with their bright orange colour. The trees have been completely dried out by their environment.

Giant Ice Caves

© pixcooler

These amazing Ice Caves in Iceland are a result of many years of natural activity. The walls of the caves become thinner when the temperature increases, and the sunlight turns them the color of precious stones. The beauty of this place is simply astounding.

A ’ghost rainbow’ in Scotland

© Melvin Nicholson

This magical-looking halo is called a ’fogbow’. It’s like a rainbow, but here there are no raindrops being reflected by the sunlight. Instead, the fogbow is the result of water droplets becoming suspended in the fog. As the droplets here are much smaller than raindrops, the colors are faded. Nevertheless, this ’ghost rainbow’ is a truly awe-inspiring sight!

Based on material from: Anews, Business Insider

Preview photo credit Melvin Nicholson