The 6 Most Awesome Special Effects Produced by Nature

This world of ours is brimming with awe-inspiring displays of nature's splendor (like rainbows and sunsets), as well as a whole bunch of not-so-awe-inspiring ones (like rainbows and sunsets the third or fourth time you see them). However, Mother Nature loves to demonstrate that, even if you happen to be the most seasoned of outdoors enthusiasts, she still has the ability to full-on blow your goddamn mind ... if you're lucky enough to stand in exactly the right spot, at precisely the right time.

#6. Yosemite National Park Hosts a Fiery Waterfall Every February

The Oz Report

No, this isn't lava. But if it were, it wouldn't kick any less ass:

CSERC
It looks like how peeing as an old man feels.

That's Horsetail Fall in Yosemite, and for an awesome couple of weeks in February, the sun hits it at just the right angle to make it look like it's actually on fire. The phenomenon has been given the only appropriate name possible -- the Firefall -- and it lasts for about 10 minutes at sunset, assuming some asshole cloud doesn't get in the way. Given the right conditions, it's hard to take a picture of this thing that doesn't look completely badass:

Yosemite Firefall
Eat irradiated asparagus and this'll be your urine.

As an interesting (and somewhat insane) side note, you might have seen similar photos like this ...

Yosemite Firefall
The Human Torch shouldn't drink.

... that are in fact not the Firefall, but a completely different event in Yosemite where a bunch of people would gather, start a bonfire, and then dump the embers down the side of the mountain. This went on for almost a century, from 1872 through 1968, at the Glacier Point Mountain House Hotel, which is located up there at the top. The Park Service made them stop doing this for some mysterious reason (why do we even have national parks if we can dump tons of flaming debris off the cliffs?), so now you just have to settle for the real thing at that magical moment when the sun hits it just right:

Yosemite Blog
Way to be lame as shit, regular waterfalls.

#5. A South Korean Island Gets Biblical in the Spring

AFP / Stringer / Getty

And by "gets biblical" we mean that for very brief stretches, suddenly everyone on this particular island can walk on water:

Visit Korea
What's the plural of "Moses"? "Moseses"? "Mosi"?

About twice a year, sometime between March and June, the tidal forces at work on the Yellow Sea all line up to cause an extremely low tide, resulting in a 1.8-mile walkway between Jindo and its neighboring island, Modo. The 130-foot-wide path stays open for only an hour, during which thousands of tourists take advantage of this rare opportunity to walk across the sea.

Damn Cool Pictures
"But wait, my car's parked on Jindo!"

Jindo Island throws a four-day festival every year around one of these low-tide events, because when you've got yourself a magic sea, you damn well use it as an excuse to party. The phenomenon is even popularly referred to as the "Moses Miracle," since it's the result of the seas suddenly pulling back like when Moses parted the Red Sea. So there are multiple biblical events at play here, which has to help with the tourism.

Actually, the Koreans have their own origin story about the Parting of the Yellow Sea: Legend has it that Jindo Island was once infested with tigers, so everybody escaped to Modo, figuring they'd just let the tigers have it. All except for one old woman, whom they forgot to take with them (kind of like the plot of Home Alone, but with tigers). She prayed to the god of the ocean, who created the pathway so she could mosey on over to Modo. Presumably the god of the ocean didn't have the heart to tell her that tigers aren't the least bit afraid of water.

Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty
Or anything else, for that matter. Because they're goddamn tigers.

#4. A Colombia River Trips Balls in the Summer

Astromario

Cano Cristales in Colombia exists for most of the year as a boring old river, with some nice clear water and a bed of dull green moss at the bottom. You know, standard river stuff. But for a brief summer period between September and November, the river starts to look a little ... different.

Hotels Costa Rica
Pictured: different.

No, our art department didn't run that second image through the LSD filter in Photoshop. Remember that dull green moss we told you about five seconds ago? When the sun turns up the heat, it blooms into a cavalcade of colors that look like the runoff from a Chinese textile factory:

Atlas Obscura
An unusually clean Chinese textile factory.

Cano Cristales gets so crazy colorful in the summer that its nickname is "the river that ran away to paradise" (or just "the world's most beautiful river," if you hate words). But as with many such psychedelic delights, this 60 straight miles of trippy goodness can be tricky to come by -- tourists have to fly out to the small town of La Macarena, travel by boat for a bit, then hike through unmarked trails to find it. We're not saying it's not worth it, of course, but if pretty colors in swirling water is what you're after, there are much simpler ways to achieve that (hint: it involves illegal substances and your toilet).

Atlas Obscura
"The water's burning. Burning! I'm freaking out, man!"

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