Natural Phenomena as Rare as Leap Day

Despite occurring every four years, Leap Day seems as mysterious and elusive as a glimpse of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. In honor of having had 24 more hours last month to enjoy the outdoors, here are some natural phenomena that boggle the mind and remind you how magical the Earth is.

Yosemite Horsetail Falls Fire

If the conditions are just right in the last few weeks of February, Horsetail Falls catches fire. A sunset fire, that is. The angle of the setting sun becomes just right to illuminate the waterfall as if lava is flowing down El Capitan.

Manhattanhenge

Twice a year, bookending the Summer Solstice, more photographers than usual crowd the streets of New York. The setting sun aligns just right with the east-west streets of Manhattan, falling perfectly between the profiles of the buildings and casting a warm glow over the entire city.

Horsetail Falls fire, Leap Day, natural phenomena, Manhattanhenge

Photo Credit: Skrykapose

Lenticular Clouds

Looking suspiciously like spaceships, these clouds form when air passes over a mountain and cools below the dew point to create condensation. Their characteristic stillness and resemblance to a stack of pancakes makes them even more intriguing to spot.

Horsetail Falls fire, Leap Day, natural phenomena, Manhattanhenge, Lenticular clouds

Photo Credit: Geriant Smith

Monarch Migration

While this is an annual event, it’s breathtaking enough to warrant a spot on our list. Monarchs channel their inner bird and migrate south in the winter and north again in the summer, traveling as far as 3,000 miles to get to their vacation homes.

Horsetail Falls fire, Leap Day, natural phenomena, Manhattanhenge, Lenticular clouds, monarch migration

Photo Credit: WorldWildlife.org

Sailing Stones

Finally, there’s proof that pet rocks are indeed alive. Under a rare mix of circumstances, a thin film of ice causes stones in Death Valley National Park to move across the desert floor.

Horsetail Falls fire, Leap Day, natural phenomena, Manhattanhenge, Lenticular clouds, monarch migration, sailing stones

Photo Credit: Scott Beckner

Tanya Twerdowsky
tanya@adventurewithkeen.com

I am a Jersey girl living in Alabama who loves to run far and eat lots.

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