Natural Oddities Around the World September 09 2014
Magnetic Hill, Moncton, New Brunswick
This hill’s claim to fame is making automobiles roll backwards uphill without power. Since this was first recorded in the 1930s, people have been trying to figure out this still-mysterious ability. As it turns out, the "magnetic force" is an optical illusion and the uphill slope is actually a downhill slope, although visitors are still welcome to try it out for themselves and experience this nonetheless unusual phenomenon for themselves.
One of the world’s newest islands, Surtsey wasn’t recently discovered – it just didn’t exist until 1963! That’s when an underwater volcano in the Westman Islands erupted, lasting in activity until 1967, when it was revealed to have remained an island. Once measuring around one square mile, it has since eroded to a little more than half that size. The Icelandic government has chosen to preserve this pristine location, although you can sail past it by taking a day cruise from the Westman Islands.
Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand
On Koekohe Beach, located on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island, one can find large spherical boulders – some with a circumference as large as 12 feet – scattered all over the place. Appearing to be man-made, they actually formed millions of years ago on the ancient sea floor, when sediment and minerals collected and hardened around a core such as a fossil or a shell. These are the only “septarian concretions” of their kind.
Racetrack Playa, Death Valley, California
Somehow, regular stones have managed to "sail" over the surface of Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park, leaving behind noticeable tracks that indicate movement. Since first being discovered almost 100 years ago, how these stones move in this dry and largely lifeless environment is a mystery that draws tourists from all over the country. One theory suggests that ice that forms around the stones during the frigid nights, causing them to move and to leave a trail as they melt. Either way, they are captivating to behold.
Relampago de Catatumbo, Ologa, Venezuela
The southwest corner of Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela has the world's highest frequency of lightning activity, with around 250 flashes and strikes per square kilometer annually. This is due to its combination of humidity, high elevation, and clashing winds from the mountains and ocean. For most of the year, especially in the peak months of May and October, you can see over 25 lighting flashes across the sky per minute! Note that the National Weather Service considers 12 strikes or more per minute to be “excessive”. Imagine what a spectacle this would be.
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