Earth is Stunning!

The universe and the rest of the solar system is awesome. There’s so much beauty everywhere we look (aesthetically and mathematically), but let’s turn our gaze towards our own planet today.

Here are some of the most rare and wonderful objects, places, and occurrences on Earth.

Let’s start with the Flat Earther’s fave: The Antarctic!

Striped Icebergs

The Antarctic climate goes through a lot as the seasons come and go, and this is well-captured within icebergs.

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Striped icebergs have lines which vary in colour depending on conditions at the time of formation. Sediments and dirt that are caught in a sheet of ice as it slides create brown and black lines. Over time, more ice can squash down on the material and smooth out the lines.

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Blue lines are formed by ice that has frozen very quickly. No air bubbles are formed, creating a crystal-like blue stripe around the iceberg.

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Credit: Doug McVeigh

Green lines, the most rare to spot, get their vibrant jade colour from algae. Most of these striped icebergs are underwater, so aren’t common.

Circumhorizontal Arcs

Often called fire rainbows, these are ice halos formed by refraction in areas of very high or very low latitude. They look like rainbow fires, which is where the (slightly inaccurate) name stems from.

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Arc in Alentejo, Portugal. Credit: Nbarr

They’re formed by refraction through ice crystals in clouds. Sunlight (and sometimes moonlight, which is really awesome!) needs to refract through a cirrus cloud, a large wispy cloud made of hexagonal ice crystals. If the majority of crystals is horizontally aligned, they can be thought of as one giant crystal. The incident light splits and creates beautiful rainbow clouds!

Bioluminescent Waves

Bioluminescence is one of the most incredible occurrences in nature, and probably only found on Earth!

Animals can produce light via chemiluminescence, where light is one of the products of a reaction. In most species, the protein luciferin reacts with oxygen and ATP to create oxyluciferin, carbon dioxide, light, and other chemicals. Some animals, like jellyfish, produce the protein Aequorin. This releases light when reacted with calcium.

These are but small examples, as there are thousands of species that are bioluminescent. Even iron can produce blue light when used as a catalyst in some reactions, which is how forensic scientists detect the smallest traces of blood in crime scenes!

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Jellyfish produce aequorin, which releases blue light.

The sea is home to many bioluminescent creatures, like jellyfish and algae. Plankton and marine microbes that live by small bays and calm coves can be seen at night, and create beautiful glittery waves!

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Credit: Doug Perrine

These gorgeous waves are dotted around warmer areas, but I’ve noticed they’re most common in California, the Maldives, and some parts of the Indian Ocean.

Pictures from Above

And lastly, let’s wrap this post up with pictures take by the ISS and satellites!

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Lake MacKay, Australia. Credit: ESA
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Dasht-e Kavir. Credit: USGS EROS data center.

And the award for most colourful thermal map of a river goes to: The Lena River Delta!

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Lena River Delta.

The Lena river is the 11th longest river in the world, but the delta of the river is one of the most fascinating areas in the North! The river extends across East Russia, and the delta is located at the very top of the country. It splits up and divides the land into hundreds of islands.

This image was made using shortwaves and red light, which brings out a great contrast between land and river, and reminds us of how little colour humans actually see!

And with that, my post ends. Have a wonderful day and, if you have a minute, share with me what you love about Earth!

 

2 comments

    • Haha! I didn’t know about them either until recently. It’s amazing to see water in so many different structures and forms, not to mention the abundance of it on other planets and moons!

      Liked by 1 person

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