The 6 Most Awesome Special Effects Produced by Nature

#3. An Italian Mountain Range Turns Pink at Sundown

Werner Van Steen / The Image Bank / Getty

Have we ever told you our theory about how the heavens themselves are nothing more than a bunch of celestial kindergartners fighting over an immense box of Crayolas? How else would you explain the Dolomites mountain range in northeastern Italy, which has the unrivaled ability to do this?

Miles Ertman / Robert Harding World Imagery / Getty
We didn't realize they made glow-in-the-dark mountains.

What you're seeing is the phenomenon of enrosadira -- literally, "to become rose-colored." Every night at sunset, the west-facing mountains undergo dramatic displays of color, varying from bright yellows to deep reds and violets.

And it's not just an ordinary reflection, either -- the glowing effect of enrosadira is unique to the Dolomites, which are composed of an unusual combination of ancient sea critter corpses and magma from volcanic eruptions. The color shift is a magic trick contained within the rock itself:

Raimund Linke / Hans Georg Iben / LOOK / The Image Bank / Getty
This is the same mountain. The picture on the right has been Photoshopped by the sun.

The phenomenon is most striking in the summer, so if you've ever wondered what it looks like when God breaks out his majestic Sharpie, it's time to add spending a sweltering summer evening in Italy to your bucket list.

#2. Austria Gets a Crystal-Clear Flood Every Summer

Wolfgang Poelzer / WaterFrame / Getty

Gruner See in Austria -- or Green Lake, as it's known to us English-speaking folk -- is not much more than a quaint, vivid pool in the middle of the Hochschwab mountains. It's about 6 or 7 feet deep and is surrounded by a bunch of trails and greenery that make it an ideal spot for hiking.

aphirlar via Panoramio

But that's only during the winter, when the snow at the top of the mountains is still, you know, snow. During the summer, all that white stuff tends to melt, and the resulting shitload of snowmelt cascades down to pull a Waterworld on the valley below, if Waterworld were about a giant, perfectly clear swimming pool:

Herbert Meyrl
Hmm. Needs more Kevin Costner drinking his own pee.

At its deepest point, the new-and-improved Green Sea is nearly 40 feet deep, and if you didn't see the ripples at the top of the photo you wouldn't even know it was underwater. It makes the benches and foot bridges look like toys in an aquarium.

Dive The Ocean
"Nice bridge, you guys. Really." -Mother Nature

So where normally a flood is a catastrophe that sends people running for their lives, the summertime flood at Green Lake is when the tourists arrive in droves, scuba gear and waterproof cameras in tow. And not without good reason -- seeing all these paths and trees underwater is admittedly far more interesting than seeing them dry. The water levels are highest in June, at the peak of summer, so start planning your next summer vacation immediately -- your future kickass Facebook profile picture depends on it.

Next Trip Tourism
It's hard to tell with the masks, but they're both making duck faces.

#1. Incredibly Rare Clouds Frequent an Australian Town

The Oz Report

So ... clouds. Pretty boring, right? They're nothing more than big, fluffy blobs of water condensation, hanging around in the sky, lounging about on their fat asses all day and contributing nothing to sky society.

But then along comes Australia. As it tends to do, Earth's most insane continent took a look at the concept of clouds and decided to create something horrifyingly badass out of it -- in this case, the awesomely named "Morning Glory clouds."

Mick Petroff
Alternate names considered were "Big Poo clouds" and "My Dick."

These cloud formations consist of long, tube-shaped shafts of water vapor up to 600 miles in length and 1,000 feet tall. The clouds are so rare around the world that they can only be predictably spotted in a very specific area of the Gulf of Carpentaria, and only then during the dry season from August to November.

Morning Glory clouds appear there every few days during this period, always in the morning and always accompanied by what a pilot might refer to in technical jargon as "swirling skydeath." OK, so we just made that up, but believe us, it's appropriate: Air at the front of the cloud is forced upward at insane velocities, while violently turbulent currents at the back of the cloud slap the air downward at around 1,500 feet per minute. Any rational person in Burketown -- the small settlement right in the middle of all this Morning Glory action -- would take one look at these aerial steamrollers and ride it out indoors, presumably while weeping openly and cursing the casual wrath of nature.

Except this is Australia, goddammit, and the only thing more badass than everything there is everyone there -- which is why people like Queensland athlete Jonny Durand took one look at these clouds and thought, "Yeah, we can totally surf those motherfuckers." So, he grabbed a hang glider and took to the sky.

The Oz Report
The glider is specially designed to allow him to moon the cloud as he goes.

MJ Alba has a cute picture of a dog on his Twitter.

For more reasons to never turn your back on Mother Nature, check out 7 Awesome Acts of Nature (That Science Can't Explain) and The 5 Most Spectacular Landscapes on Earth (That Murder You).

If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 4 Insane Examples of Overzealous Internet Censorship .

And stop by LinkSTORM to unite to destroy the planet.

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Related Reading: For electric blue seas and other natural phenomena caught on camera, click here. Of course, nature alone can only accomplish so much badassery. It takes a human to bump things to the next level, as proven by this astronaut free-falling from space.

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