Yah.. you’re on the grass, looking up at the blue sky, enjoying some singing birds and catching some warm rays. You see clouds of various shapes rising slowly, high in the air.
Suddenly you listen a powerful loud rumble reaching from far away. You get up and see a huge thick cloud ahead. But it’s not the dimensions that scare you, it’s the shape. The cloud looks like a skull. Don’t fear, it doesn’t mean anything bad’s gonna occur.
Anyway, it’s not actually a cloud. A few years ago, a skull was created out of thick smoke over Mount Vesuvius in Italy. That’s the same volcano that erased the old city of Pompeii from the front of the Earth. Of course, back then, almost all people were afraid that the volcano would flash again.
Luckily for everyone, the volcano’s yet in a deep sleep. It was just a nearby forest fire that caused that famous skull cloud. But the citizens weren’t so sure. Some believed that the fire…and the skull were placed on purpose! Wouldn’t be the first time…
Centralia, Pennsylvania, USA. People… well, just look around! Looks slightly scary: naked trees, no people, no animals. All the towers are empty. Roads are all broken and strewn with rock. No cars, obviously. Thick fog everywhere. This town’s been burning for more than 50 years.
Centralia utilized to be a mining town. One of its coal mines was dumped, and residents used it as a dump for their garbage. Then, according to most people, the city chose to get rid of the rubbish in the normal way, by burning it.
The project was a main failure. Let’s see what could have perhaps gone wrong here. The rubbish fire got in-depth into the mine’s underpasses, ignited the coal that’s still down there, and has been burning steadily ever since. The level of carbon dioxide shot up, and they had to close down the other mines nearby for protection. No one could block the fire, and the underground flames spread under the city. Roads started to warm up, the ground went sour, and the roads slowly filled with smoke and smog. There were only 5 people living there in 2017!
Welcome to Abraham Lake in Canada. It’s totally frozen. You look down at what lies beneath and step onto the transparent ice. No fish, just some mysterious frozen bubbles. They look like little clouds frozen in ice or jellyfish who forgot to put on a winter jacket.
There are thousands of these small bubbles assembled up of methane. But don’t attempt to dig a hole in the ice to touch it. Methane is highly explosive! It’s made by methane-producing bacteria that eat grass, insects, leaves, or any other organic things that get into the lake.
When the methane touches the frozen water, it diverts into tens of thousands of frozen small balls. When the ice melts, it burst open and sizzles. If you burned a match over them at just the right moment, the lake would look kind of like an exploding volcano. I can only imagine what you’d look like, but your unique nickname would be “Burnie”.
Alike lakes can be seen near some beaches of the Arctic Ocean. There, the dimensions of the bubbles can get several times the size of hot air balloons! Beautiful for sure, but not just secure.
The next stunning lake is in Indonesia: the island of Java. You see a glorious volcano, overgrown with trees and grass. The volcano seems to be sleeping, but smoke is running out of it. You climb to the summit. Tired, sweaty, exhausted, you’re going to be cool off. Nice work, you completed it to the top. You see the mouth of the volcano. Hmm. No boiling lava, just a bright, beautiful, turquoise lake down there. It looks like an oasis.
Excellent time for a stimulating dip. If you run down and get prepared to jump in. But that’s not water, that’s acid! Sulfurous gases get into the lake from under the volcano. The lake itself is full of metals. When the gases adjoin them, they create that beautiful turquoise water… I mean acid. More pleasing to head back to the nearest village, relax and come again at night when it’s cooler.
At night, the lake seems to shine. Right above it, you see light-filled, flashing little clouds. The sulfurous gases grow out of the lake, combined with the air, and flash bright blue. Still, don’t go too close.
Up in the sky, volcanoes, underground, lakes… yes. Time to go to sea. You get on a boat and sail off. It doesn’t matter where, this next one occurs all over the earth. So, the ocean is crystal clear and calm, there’s no wind in your sails.
Everything is so quiet… wait, what’s that? You attend a loud, loud noise. 2 seconds later, a massive wave, way more elevated than your mast, grows from the calm sea and hits your yacht. The yacht tends to stay upright, and the massive wave vanishes. You just survived the attack of a rogue wave.
Some scientists guess it happens when the consistent sea current smashes into a powerful headwind. Others declare it occurs when warm and cold currents come up against each other. Another famous theory is wave interference, where little waves team up to form one monster! The best theory: is “kinetic-vampirism.” Under specific conditions, waves get a kind of superpower. Out of all the waves in space, there’ll be one which sucks the power out of all the others.
When it’s maximum, the wave spits it all out. Maybe that’s why the wave’s so powerful, but only stays an instant. What about clouds… dangerous? Well, they can be, if they’re massive thunderclouds, black blocking out the sun, walls of gray and the moon, and the stars!
First, you’re resting in your backyard, then you notice thunderclouds. Then you fetch thunderstorms, floods, hail, and even tornadoes! They’re easy to spot thanks to their epic appearance — heavy, thick, and dark. They can even flash inside because of lightning.
That’s one terrifying-looking cloud, but before you head away, let’s see how it develops. Clouds are like rollercoasters. Suppose you’re a little drop of water, hanging out with your buddies in the ocean, waiting in line for the brand-new passage that just opened up! It’s time.
You are inside the whip. Nothing will happen. Then you feel it. The rollercoaster starts moving up, up, up… you’ll see all your hunk friends there… they’re too little! You keep getting up, just waiting for the great one… Hush! But nothing happens.
Then you are so elevated that you are in the clouds! It’s not so scary here, and you have a lot of friends, nice. It’s beginning to get cold, you look everywhere, it’s happening to everyone, you’re diverting into beautiful ice crystals, so shiny and beautiful.
The clouds are loading up, somehow shrinking with all the other water droplets… yet, what a quiet, enjoyable!
The ride begins again, and you begin free-falling! Slowly at first, then quickly and faster, thousands of your associates drop back to the ground, some holding the railing tightly, some laughing and waving in the air! Whoah! And splash!!
Scary! Not all lightning strikes within clouds. There is a rare phenomenon called dirty thunderstorms. Lightning strikes occur outside of a volcano, most notably in Japan. It is emitted almost daily and spews dark clouds into the air.
So it’s super scary volcanic clouds… plus lightning. Lightning regularly occurs during storms when ice crystals collide with each other. In a dirty thunderstorm, pieces of volcanic ash collide, creating friction and sparking into the sky!
Ok, better finish the journey with something safe and beautiful, no more cloud rollercoasters, please!
You’re in the Atacama desert in Northern Chile, one of the driest places on Earth. But this desert has a beautiful secret.
Every 3-5 years… flowers come out of nowhere. It is so famous, it is also called the “desert of flowers”. The seed is lying in the ground, just waiting for some rain. About 200 types of flowers bloom in the desert when there is enough water. The yellow sand of the Atacama turns purple, white, green, and pink!