The marine world has always been a highly mysterious place, the stuff of myths and legends. From the Loch Ness Monster to Atlantis, the world under the sea has always sparked our imaginations. But scientific researchers are interested in many equally astonishing maritime wonders that are quite real. Here are the 20 most surprising marine phenomena.
In the fabulous waters of Belize, the roof of a limestone cave, formed during the last glacial period, collapsed and revealed the Great Blue Hole. It has since become a diver’s paradise.
The Bermuda Triangle, known for the countless ships and aircraft that have disappeared within its boundaries, is a triangular area off the coast of Florida. Scientific researchers are increasingly mystified by this region. The impressive number of disappearances has made it famous (or infamous). Explore at your own risk.
Lake Natron in Tanzania is both morbid and magnificent. Its salt content and highly alkaline water transforms any animals that dare enter it into stone.Pinterest
On polar seas, when the air is colder than the water, ice crystals form abruptly on the surface, creating a garden of frost flowers.
A destabilized ocean current can sometimes create eddies up to 200 km in diameter. While myths and films have certainly exaggerated the phenomenon, it is quite possible for eddies to swallow up swimmers and small boats.
Plankton is the first link in the marine food chain. At night, the immense quantities of plankton moving in the ocean create an impressive light show.
Brinicles are a natural phenomenon that’s tough to watch. Basically, they’re like an underwater tornado, freezing everything in their path. They’re also known as the “icy finger of death,” since brinicles kill any marine species that become trapped in the ice.Pinterest
The exceptional colour of Australia’s Lake Hillier remains a surprising scientific puzzle. The bright pink colour is supposedly a result of the presence of microorganisms.
Natural pools on beaches between tides attract tons of swimmers. But the strength of the rising tide should not be underestimated. It can create a baïne—a strong current pulling those caught in it into the ocean. Swimmers, beware!
Every year off the coast of South Africa from May through July, millions of sardines form immense spawns and begin migrating north to reproduce. The Sardine Run, a truly massive journey for the survival of the species, can be seen by satellites.
Russian researchers finally reached Lake Vostok in 2011. It was isolated 4 km below the Antarctic ice for 14 million years and contains organisms that were previously unknown to science.
In 1995, strange circles were discovered on the sea floor in Japanese waters, causing some controversy. In 2012, Japanese researchers finally solved the mystery with the help of underwater cameras. Pufferfish were drawing the marvelous circular designs with their fins to attract females. Masters of seduction!Pinterest
Those interested in UFOs (unidentified flying objects) are now using the ocean as another way to prove the existence of this phenomenon. Studies on USOs (unidentified submerged objects) are much more understated. It would appear that there are strange machines hidden in the depths of the ocean.
Though weaker and smaller than a tornado, waterspouts are quite impressive. A column of wind and water is created above a body of water. The intensity of this spectacular meteorological phenomenon should not be underestimated.
In Alberta, Canada, Abraham Lake is home to an interesting marine spectacle. The lake bed releases methane gas, a result of decomposing organic matter. In the winter, these gas bubbles become frozen in ice and form an impressive natural sculpture. Pinterest
Every year, surfers from the Basque coast hope the mythical 15-foot Belharra wave will appear. You had better not miss it, since the wave only appears every two or three years off Urrugne, in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques region of France.
The Cenote Angelita cave in Mexico is home to a river that’s 60 m deep. This natural phenomenon is the result of a large amount of hydrogen sulfate in the water.
The Mariana Trench in the northwestern Pacific Ocean is the least visited place in the world, for the simple reason that it is currently the deepest ocean trench ever recorded. But it seems the high pressures haven’t completely impeded marine life, since piezophile organisms live there.
Siberia’s Lake Baikal is the oldest and deepest lake in the world. When the lake freezes in the winter, it forms pans of transparent, turquoise ice. The clear water also gives the lake its reputation—you can sometimes see up to 40 m deep.
Several thousand jellyfish species have been recorded. The sting of many simply causes a burning and stinging sensation, while others can be deadly to humans. Jellyfish cause five times more deaths than sharks each year.