Planet Earth is a world in constant motion, giving rise to powerful weather events, fierce temperature extremes and awe-inspiring phenomena.

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Many of nature's most amazing designs are often some of the strangest. With such vast variations in flora, fauna, climate and terrain across the globe, there are still many mysterious things to behold when venturing outdoors.

Listed below are five of the most unusual and amazing natural phenomena happening right now on the blue planet.

Fairy rings or elf circles

Fairy ring of Clitocybe nebularis ("Clouded Agaric"), photographed near Buchenberg in the Allga╠łu. (Josimda/Wikimedia Commons)

Found deep within the world's forests and even some backyards, circles of mushrooms, or rings of dark green grass are fairly common occurrences.

Fairy rings, also called elf circles, were once associated with supernatural phenomena, and often times considered dangerous to mortals. Folklore attributed sorcerers, witches and mythical creatures like fairies and elves as the culprits behind the mysterious rings.

According to a report from Penn State University, fairy rings are a result of colonies of mushroom fungi that live in soil and thatch.

"These colonies obtain food from decaying organic matter and grow outward radially, increasing in size year after year," the report states.

It is thought the ring of stimulated grass is caused by nitrogen substances produced by the fungi's breakdown of organic matter.


(Photo/Benjamin Derge)

This is a fungus that can set itself aglow through bioluminescence. Foxfire, or fairy fire, is the result of chemical interactions between certain types of fungi and decaying wood.

Foxfire occurs throughout the world, and can be bright or dim depending on the fungi and environmental conditions present.

Bioluminescence is the emission of light from living organisms and is a trait exhibited by certain types of bacteria, fungi, insects, algae and vertebrate and invertebrate marine creatures. Fireflies are among the most common bioluminescent organisms found throughout the world.

"Small whitish luminous fungi ('foxfire') commonly grow on deadwood in forests, particularly where the ground is moist and wet; these forms predominate in the tropics," according to

The light from these mystifying fungi can range from blue and green to yellow, depending on the species.

According to the Department of the Navy, foxfire was used to illuminate the barometer of the Turtle, the world's first combat submarine which saw action during the American Revolutionary War.

Glowing waves and shorelines

Another spectacle resulting from bioluminescence can be attributed to phytoplankton, which occasionally illuminate coastal areas and crashing waves with a magnificent neon blue hue.

Phytoplankton are a type of microalgae that float on the surface of sea water, emitting bright blue light when they are agitated by waves or other interference like swimming fish, according to a Business Insider report.

These light-emitting organisms are almost exclusively found in salt water, which is thought to be vital in the chemical reaction needed to provide beachgoers with this spectacular, natural wonder.

Antarctica's Blood Falls

Taylor Glacier's Blood Falls looks like a crime scene, but scientists have finally figured out the true cause of the coloring. (Photo/Peter Rejcek/National Science Foundation)

While glowing shorelines might seem like the beaches of a magical alien world, Antarctica's Taylor Glacier features a far more disturbing oceanic spectacle - a waterfall that stains the surrounding ice in a bloody hue.

For years, Blood Falls was thought to be the result of algae living in Antarctica's frigid climate, but recently scientists uncovered the truth behind its origins and solved an age-old mystery.

The blood red flow coming from the glacier is the result of iron-oxide, according to recent report featured on

An ancient, 5-million-year-old lake is the source of the iron flow, which oxidizes when it makes contact with the air.

A study was conducted by the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Colorado College, which used radio-echo sounding to determine the exact location of where the water was flowing.

The fiery Santa Fe River

Divers seeking new adventures and some of the world's most beautiful natural wonders can find plenty to behold in High Springs, Florida.

Recently, a diver from Pennsylvania who had visited the area captured video of the Santa Fe River caught in a fiery storm display from beneath the water's surface.

The diver, Benjamin Rother, told Business Insider, that the scene was hypnotic.

Due to the high levels of tannic acid from the surrounding roots of cypress trees, the Santa Fe River is cloudy and tea-colored.

When the river combines with nearly 80 million gallons of clear water from the Devil Spring System, the tea-colored water swirls and mixes, creating a stormy effect in the sunlight, according to Business Insider.

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