1. Sandstorms

Desert storm: Huge cloud of sand descends on Chinese village

Like a scene from a Hollywood disaster movie, a towering cloud of sand dwarfs the rows of uniform houses as it descends on a small village in central China.
Residents hid inside their homes with their windows and doors locked shut as the dust storm swept through the region advancing 70ft a minute.

Day turned to night as tons of dust temporarily blocked out the sun and reduced visibility to around 600ft. But suddenly the storm calmed and the mile-high cloud settled back to Earth again, leaving villagers with a major clean-up operation.

Golmud is home to 200,000 people with 140,000 living in the city centre. The new industrial city is built on a flat expanse close to the borders of the Gobi desert, which is the largest desert in Asia. Although not an ideal place to live, tens of thousands of people have relocated there to work at the salt lakes in the region.

But the prospect of a good job and lots of living space comes at a price. Every spring strong winds blow across the Gobi creating huge columns of dust and sand, which are then dumped nearby. The dust can cause frequent power blackouts, transport delays and respiratory illness.


On the move: A massive sand storm hits a village in Golmud in the Qinghai Province. The region is near the edge of the Gobi desert


Dust-storm over sea

2. Murmuration

This happens when a flock of starlings (‘Murmuration’) fly together with a variety of twist and turn movements, all in complete synchronization to create this spectacular coordinated show. Not quite sure about the rarity of its occurrence though.  This astonishing sequence (below) was filmed by wild life cameraman and travel journalist Dylan Winter who is currently sailing around the UK in an 18 foot boat. You can follow his journey and see more of his work at www.keepturningleft.co.uk

Apparently, much of this coordinated effort is used by the starlings to communicate with each other about food sources and to protect themselves from predators. More analysis on this phenomenon here –

The Startling Science of a Starling Murmuration | Wired Science | Wired.com

3. Sailing Stones


The pic above shows the mysterious moving stones of the packed-mud desert of Death Valley.  Rocks weighing  up to hundreds of pounds have been known to move up to hundreds of  yards at a time. Some scientists have proposed that a combination of  strong winds and surface ice account for these movements. However, this  theory does not explain evidence of different rocks starting side by  side and moving at different rates and in disparate directions.  Moreover, the physics calculations do not fully support this theory as  wind speeds of hundreds of miles per hour would be needed to move some  of the stones.

4. Mammatus Clouds

Mammatus, also known as mammatocumulus (meaning “mammary cloud” or “breast cloud”), is a meteorological term applied to a cellular pattern of pouches hanging underneath the base of a cloud. The name mammatus is derived from the Latin mamma (meaning “udder” or “breast”).  

mammatus_clouds1  mammatus_clouds2


— Read More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammatus_cloud

5.Catatumbo lightning

Continuous Lightening in Lake Catatumbo in Venezuela. Here the lightening occurs  140 to 160 nights a year, 10 hours per day and up to 280 times per hour.
And it has been continuing for centuries.
The Catatumbo Lightning (Spanish Relámpago del Catatumbo) is an atmospheric phenomenon in Venezuela. It occurs only over the mouth of the Catatumbo River where it empties into Lake Maracaibo. The frequent, powerful flashes of lightning over this relatively small area are considered to be the world’s largest single generator of tropospheric ozone, that is, ozone that does not replenish the stratospheric ozone layer.

It originates from a mass of storm clouds at a height of more than 5 km during 140 to 160 nights a year, 10 hours per day and up to 280 times per hour. It occurs over and around Lake Maracaibo, typically over the bog area formed where the Catatumbo River flows into the lake.

After appearing continually for centuries, the lightning ceased from January to April 2010, apparently due to drought. This raised fears that it might have been extinguished permanently. The phenomenon reappeared after several months.

— Read More:  Catatumbo lightning – Wikipedia Link.