The stunning beauty of waterfalls, frozen in time. Only in extremely cold climates will water freeze into place, forming the most amazing, glistening ice formations.
Ice forms on still bodies of fresh water, like lakes, when the temperature hits 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) or below, but the physics of freezing becomes a lot more complicated in moving water. Waterfalls don’t immediately stop flowing and freeze over when the temperature plummets to the freezing point.
The temperature of the water in the river/stream and waterfall it supplies drops slightly below freezing and supercools, which causes the water molecules to slow and begin to stick together to form solid particles of “frazil” ice. These are tiny discs roughly one millimeter (0.04 inches) in diameter, yet this is enough to start the freezing process.
The frazil ice discs will clump together when they come into contact with one another, as well as sticking to nearby surfaces. In the case of waterfalls that flow down the face of a cliff, the discs will accumulate against the cold rock, while for a free-falling waterfall, ice will cling to the overhang.
Eventually the frazil ice will form an anchor from which it will grow and, provided the temperature of the water is sufficiently cold enough for long enough, it will create a column that runs the length of the waterfall. Over time, the river or stream will completely freeze over leaving an icy snapshot of the waterfall, eerily frozen in time.
Although extremely rare, ice disks, also known as ice circles, do indeed appear naturally from time to time when conditions are perfect. Above are a few examples of people who have been lucky enough to stumble onto one while holding a camera.
Ice discs form on the outer bends in a river where the accelerating water creates a force called ‘rotational shear’, which breaks off a chunk of ice and twists it around. As the disc rotates, it grinds against surrounding ice — smoothing into a circle. A relatively uncommon phenomenon, one of the earliest recordings is of a slowly revolving disc was spotted on the Mianus River and reported in a 1895 edition of Scientific American.
The Eternal Inferno - Italy’s (Perhaps the World’s) Smallest Volcano
More accurately resembling an eternal campfire, Monte Busca Volcano has been a source of permanent flames for hundreds of years. Referred to as Inferno by the locals of Monte Busca; a place where fire finds its home in the smallest volcano in Italy and, most likely, the world. A wondrous geologic oddity where emissions of gaseous hydrocarbon, a natural gas vent, come into contact with the oxygen from the air keeping it constantly alight, giving rise to a phenomena called “burning fountains”. These ever-present flames even served the troops during World War II as a source of heat for cooking and other ignition needs and are a fascinating spectacle not to be missed.
"One mile from Portico is a place called Inferno by local inhabitants, where the earth is dark and rough and where there is a 4-foot large hole in which a fire flame steadily rises from the ground; it burns the fresh wood placed on it and can only be extinguished by throwing woollen cloths on it. Near this hole you can find many gold, silver and metal coins.”
Leandro Alberti, 1588
The Unbelievable Crystal Caves of Naica, Mexico
Hidden 300 meters below the earth, Naica’s Cave of Crystals is a site of sheer magnificent beauty. A big geode of red walls filled with selenite crystals of extraordinary shapes and sizes were accidentally discovered during the exploration of a mine. This mineral wonderland is a site of extreme scientific interest and an extraordinary natural phenomena.
Located in Chihuahua, Mexico, the Naica caves were discovered when a mining facility pumped an immense amount of water out of the ground to continue to mining. When the water was drained out of the caves, an extraordinary natural treasure was discovered. The crystals discovered represent the most extraordinary examples of selenite ever found. By chance, four caves of unique characteristics and sizes have been discovered. Although all four caves contain stunning crystals, only one of the caves in particular features the mammoth crystals seen above, the Crystals’ Cave.
The Crystals’ Cave is one of the world’s most spectacular geographical discoveries of all time. The cave features giant selenite crystals of a size never seen before. Most of them measure six meters in length, with some of them reaching eleven meters. The temperature at this depth varies from 45°C to 50°C, while the percentage of humidity ranges from 90 to 100%, meaning that humans cannot survive there for longer than two hours.
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These were the most popular for the month of September. Click on a link to check them out. October will have a Halloween theme so stay tuned.
The Enchanted River
Hidden in the Philippine jungle is a short stretch of river that is so vividly blue and crystal clear that is it like no other river in the world. It’s called the “Enchanted River” because the water seems to flow from an unknown source, as well as being so clear and blue that its appears magical. It’s one of the Philippines most popular and beautiful tourist attractions.
The Enchanted River in Hinatuan, Philippines is a near flawless saltwater river that makes a relatively short journey until it flows into the Pacific Ocean. It’s not very deep and, at times, appears as more of a stream, but the water appears so mystical that it attracts tourists from all over the world. No one is exactly clear as to the river’s origin. However most people believe that the river begins from water flowing from an underground cave system. The natural wonder of the river’s clarity and beauty is most definitely worth exploring.sources 1, 2, 3, 4, 5