In 2018, we wrote about Antarctica’s unsettling “blood waterfall.” Now, you can check out a fascinating short documentary about the crimson cascade filmed in 2020:
Since just before Christmas, residents of eastern Colorado have witnessed mysterious swarms of drones — sometimes as many as thirty at a time — taking to the skies in the early evening hours. The first accounts of the drone swarms appeared in The Denver Post on December 23. Business Insider reports that
Since then, sightings have spanned six counties across Colorado and Nebraska.
Phillips County Sheriff Thomas Elliott had no answer for where the drones came from or whom they belonged to but did have a rough grasp on their flying habits. “They’ve been doing a grid search, a grid pattern,” he told The Denver Post. “They fly one square and then they fly another square.”
No one seems to know where the drones are coming from, who’s responsible for them, or what exactly they’re up to. So far, the Air Force, the DEA, the Department of Defense, the FAA, and a host of other institutions and agencies (including all private drone companies known to be operating in the area) have denied involvement. Complaints have prompted a federal investigation, but thus far no additional information has been released to the public. The altitude at which the drones appear to be flying is largely unregulated.
Nature’s marvels are boundless, and one of its most visually disturbing is a certain blood-red cascade found in Victoria Land, East Antarctica (aptly named “Blood Falls“). Fortunately for the squeamish, it’s not actually blood:
Blood Falls is an outflow of an iron oxide-tainted plume of saltwater, flowing from the tongue of Taylor Glacier onto the ice-covered surface of West Lake Bonney in the Taylor Valley of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Victoria Land, East Antarctica.
Iron-rich hypersaline water sporadically emerges from small fissures in the ice cascades. The saltwater source is a subglacial pool of unknown size overlain by about 400 metres (1,300 ft) of ice several kilometers from its tiny outlet at Blood Falls.
The reddish deposit was found in 1911 by the Australian geologist Griffith Taylor, who first explored the valley that bears his name. The Antarctica pioneers first attributed the red color to red algae, but later it was proven to be due to iron oxides.
Surely a sight to see! Given the remote location of Blood Falls, though, it’s unlikely to appeal as a tourist destination to any but the hardiest and most well-heeled of travelers.
Said to be large enough to “swallow a boat,” the Lake Texoma vortex seen below is actually the result of intentional draining due to high water levels following Texas’s record rainfall this summer. You wouldn’t need to tell me twice to keep my distance from this monster:
You can read more here. Of course, even this impressive whirlpool has got nothin’ on the famous disappearing Lake Peigneur, a catastrophic vortex which devoured a “drilling platform, eleven barges, many trees and 65 acres (260,000 m2) of the surrounding terrain.”
Australia, the Land Down Under, the place where everything is poisonous, just got even more terrifying. You read the headline right: it is raining spiders in Australia:
Millions of tiny spiders recently fell from the sky in Australia, alarming residents whose properties were suddenly covered with not only the creepy critters, but also mounds of their silky threads. But that’s not where the frightful news ends: Experts say that such arachnid rains aren’t as uncommon as you might think.
Of course the question, then, is why is it raining spiders in Australia? (Tautological answers will not be accepted.) The answer is just as unsettling as the phenomenon itself. According to Rick Vetter, a retired arachnologist at the University of California, Riverside, witnesses
likely saw a form of spider transportation known as ballooning. “Ballooning is a not-uncommon behavior of many spiders. They climb some high area and stick their butts up in the air and release silk. Then they just take off,” Vetter told Live Science. “This is going on all around us all the time. We just don’t notice it.”
Next time I travel to Australia, remind me to bring an umbrella.