Make your holiday memories a little bit extra special by seeing these seven spectacular natural events. From solar eclipses to the northern lights, these magical occurrences will make your trip even more memorable.
1. Geyser bubbles
Geysers erupt with incredible power, but if you see them just before they erupt they look like giant water bubbles. In Iceland you can see several spectacular geysers, for example the famous Strokkur geyser bursts on average every five to 10 minutes. You can also see them in Yellowstone National Park that has numerous geysers, as well as in Chile, Russia and New Zealand.
Read more: 10 of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes
2. Wandering stones
Stones can’t move right? This isn’t so in California’s Death Valley. For decades, these stones were a complete mystery to scientists but it was recently discovered that a thin layer of ice formed over the desert lake bed before breaking into pieces that move the rocks aided by an accompanying gentle breeze. Despite the mystery being solved, they are still dead weird.
Perhaps they are not like the whirlpools that you read about in myths and legends that could suck ships below the waves but they are still fascinating to see. Saltstraumen in Norway is the world’s strongest whirlpool and the most powerful tidal current on earth. Even if the sea appears calm, there are dangerously strong underwater currents. So it’s not the best phenomenon to explore on your own in the water.
4. Aurora Borealis & Aurora Australis
Those who have seen the Aurora with their own eyes will know there is something quite extraordinary about being able to witness these bright colours in the night sky. Scandinavia above the Arctic Circle, is the best place to see it in, but also parts of Scotland (the further north, the better). The Aurora Australis in the southern hemisphere can be viewed in parts of South America, New Zealand, Australia and, best of all, the Antarctic.
5. Solar and lunar eclipses
Back in 1999, many Brits headed to Devon and Cornwall to experience the last total solar eclipse visible from the UK. If you go to Iceland in March 2015, you’ll have a chance of seeing the next one. Check the NASA Solar Eclipse Page to see where it will be visible from. NASA also has a second page where you can learn about eclipses of the moon: NASA Lunar Eclipse Page.
6. Colour trees
Trees may not seem particularly crazy at first glance. Many have very unusual shapes, but there are also some that are unusual colours, such as the Rainbow Eucalyptus, which, as its name implies, boasts a multi-coloured trunk. You can see these in Southeast Asia and Australasia; especially in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.
7. Mother of pearl clouds
Pictured below are some Nacreous clouds (mother of pearl clouds) that despite not technically being ‘clouds’ (as they are not made of water, but of sulphuric and nitric acid), are spectacles that can be observed best during sunrise and sunset and usually only occur in cold climates. These mother of pearl clouds are only one of many mad cloud formations…