Crowley Lake is a reservoir on the upper Owens River in southern Mono County, California. Upon completion of the reservoir in 1941, strange columnar formations, some of which reached heights of as much as 20 feet, were spotted along the reservoir’s eastern shore. Some described them as stone cylinders connected by fortified stone arches that had been completely covered and obscured for millions of years but which had been gradually unmasked by the incessant pummeling of the lake’s powerful waves, whose constant pounding had eroded the more malleable rock at the base of the cliffs encasing these pillars.
The pillars were simply regarded as oddities until 2015, when geologists realized that they were the result of frigid water from melting snow seeping down into volcanic ash, creating tiny holes in the hot ash, which then rose up and out of these same holes. Researchers have now counted nearly 5,000 of these pillars, which appear in groups and vary widely in shape, size and color over an area of 4000 acres, with some of the columns standing as erect as towering pylons.
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The Kagami Numa, the “Dragon Eye lake” in Japan hides a truly mind-blowing phenomenon. Most of the time it’s pretty ordinary looking, but if you go there from late May through early June you might be lucky to witness its transformation into a “dragon eye” shape.
In the late spring, a great amount of snow melts and pours into the pond, and a ring of open water forms around the edge, leaving a white disk in the middle. Next, a pool of water gathers in the center of the white disk, making the pond look rather like a huge eye.
Mushroom rock resembling hands holding a globe in Falsuri, Bolivia.
Grüner See (Green Lake) is a lake in Styria, Austria, surrounded by the Hochschwab Mountains and forests. The name “Green Lake” originated because of its emerald-green water. During winter, the lake is only 1–2 m (3–7 ft) deep and the surrounding area is used as a county park. However, in spring, when the temperature rises and snow melts, the basin of land below the mountains fills with water. The lake reaches its maximum depth of around 12 m (39 ft). The waters are at their highest in June when it becomes a destination for divers keen to explore the rare phenomenon. A bridge and a bench could also be found underwater, as well as trails and trees.
By Herzi Pinki (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
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The Nördlinger Ries is a giant impact crater in Southern Germany. An asteroid hit this region 15 million years ago creating a crater with a diameter of 25km. The town is located in the crater depression. The immense pressure and heat created tons of small diamonds Stone from this area was quarried and used to build the stone buildings. Approximately 72,000 tonnes of diamonds are hidden in Nördlinger’s buddings. They are scientifically valuable but economically not of interest.
Aerial scenes at the end of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory were filmed there.
Wolkenkratzer, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Hd pano, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons
Penitentes are snow formations found at high altitudes. They take the form of elongated, thin blades of hardened snow or ice, closely spaced and pointing towards the direction of the sun.
The name comes from the resemblance of a field of penitentes to a crowd of kneeling people doing penance. The formation evokes the tall, pointed habits and hoods worn by brothers of religious orders in the Processions of Penance during Spanish Holy Week. In particular the brothers’ hats are tall, narrow, and white, with a pointed top.
These spires of snow and ice grow over all glaciated and snow-covered areas in the Dry Andes above 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) and range in length from a few centimeters to over 5 meters (16 ft).
By ESO/B. Tafreshi (twanight.org) – CC BY 4.0, Link
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A fallstreak hole is a large circular gap, that can appear in clouds. Such holes are formed when the water temperature in the clouds is below freezing but the water has not frozen yet due to the failure of ice nucleation. When ice crystals do form they will set off a chain reaction causing the water droplets around the ice crystals to evaporate leaving a large usually circular or elliptical hole.
H. Raab (User:Vesta), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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Desert rose is the colloquial name given to rose-like formations of crystal clusters of gypsum or baryte which include sand grains. The ‘petals’ are crystals fanning open in radiating flattened crystal clusters. The rosette crystal habit tends to occur when the crystals form in arid sandy conditions, such as the evaporation of a shallow salt basin. The crystals form a circular array of flat plates, giving the rock a shape similar to a rose blossom.
Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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King of Wings, a rock formation in the remote part of the badlands of San Juan Basin of northwestern New Mexico, seems to defy the laws of physics and gravity. A piece of sandstone jutting out ten feet into the air that sits atop a column of stone hoodoo is a spectacle to see.
John Fowler/FLICKR (CC BY 2.0)
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Hair ice, also known as ice wool or frost beard, is a type of ice that forms on dead wood and takes the shape of fine, silky hair. It is somewhat uncommon, and has been reported mostly at latitudes between 45–55 °N in broad leaf forests. Hair ice forms on moist, rotting wood from broad leaf trees when temperatures are slightly under 0 °C (32 °F) and the air is humid. Each of the smooth, silky hairs has a diameter of about 0.02 mm (0.0008 in) and a length of up to 20 cm (8 in). The hairs are brittle, but take the shape of curls and waves. They can maintain their shape for hours and sometimes days. A piece of wood that produces hair ice once may continue to produce it over several years.
In the year 2015, German and Swiss scientists identified the fungus Exidiopsis effusa as key to the formation of hair ice. The fungus was found on every hair ice sample examined by the researchers, and disabling the fungus with fungicide or hot water prevented hair ice formation.
Des Colhoun / A mystery of Nature on Altyre Estate
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