It's easy to get lost in cars and offices and grocery stores and forget that there's a bigger, more beautiful world we don't always get to see. But there's stunning stuff happening every day, in some cases right outside your door.\r\n\r\nSo let's take a whirl through some of the most incredible, sometimes mind-boggling phenomena the Earth has to offer \u2014 along with\u00a0a little of the science behind them.\r\n1. Volcanic lightning\r\nThat's right,\u00a0volcanoes\u00a0can produce\u00a0lightning.\r\n\r\nIt's pretty hard to study, but researchers\u00a0have a few ideas\u00a0about what causes it. One of the most common is that during an eruption, ash picks up so much friction that the build-up of\u00a0static electricity\u00a0causes lightning.\r\n\r\n\r\n2. Fire rainbows \u2014 sorry, we mean 'circumhorizon arcs'\r\nThese beautiful sky paintings have nothing to do with fire or rain, as weather-loving people are\u00a0very quick\u00a0to point out.\r\n\r\nThey're\u00a0actually caused\u00a0by the sun, very high in the sky, shining through a particular type of ice cloud formation. That means that how\u00a0rare they vary\u00a0with how far north or south you are.\r\n\r\n\r\n3. Halos\r\nLike fire rainbows,\u00a0halos\u00a0require just the\u00a0right formation\u00a0of ice crystals in clouds high above the surface of the Earth to bend light from the sun into a perfect ring.\r\n\r\nThe same phenomenon can also happen with\u00a0moonlight, although moon halos are usually white and sun halos can be rainbow-colored, like this one.\r\n\r\n\r\n4. Fire whirls, aka fire tornadoes\r\nIt's pretty clear how this phenomenon got its nickname: It looks like a tornado, but it's made of fire. "It's just like a spinning column of flames," forecaster Michael Watkins told the\u00a0Los Angeles Times.\r\n\r\nThey form when wind patterns twist an active fire into a column.\r\n\r\nAbout once a year, the US sees one large fire whirl \u2014\u00a0as tall as 1000 feet. Fire whirls\u00a0can spread fires\u00a0not only directly, but also by scattering burning debris.\r\n\r\n\r\n5. Penitentes\r\nThese ice spikes, called penitentes, form at high altitudes, where sunlight turns ice directly into water vapor, rather than melting it to water.\r\n\r\nSunbeams vaporize small dimples on the snow's surface. Then, the uneven surface directs sun into the dips and away from the peaks, exacerbating the trend.\r\n\r\nPenitentes can grow as tall as\u00a015 feet.\r\n\r\n\r\nWatch them grow and die:\r\nhttps:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v=HjlkrVxBtIA\r\n6. Pele's hair lava\r\nI know what you're thinking \u2014 I must have gotten my images mixed up, that's a bird's nest, there's no way that came out of a volcano. But it did, from Hawaii's Mt. Kilauea.\r\n\r\nThe wind can catch individual droplets of lava and stretch them into what's basically\u00a0glass wires. Strands can reach\u00a0as long as\u00a06 feet.\r\n\r\nWhile in Hawaii the phenomenon is named for Pele, the goddess of volcanoes, it's also found in Norway, where it's known as\u00a0Witch's Hair.\r\n\r\n\r\n7. Salar de Uyuni\r\nSalar de Uyuni in Bolivia is\u00a0both\u00a0the world's largest salt flat (it's about 4,000 square miles) and the home of half the planet's lithium, a key component in most\u00a0electronics' batteries.\r\n\r\nThe wet season turns it into a perfectly reflective lake.\r\n\r\n\r\n8. Synchronized hordes of cicadas\r\nIf you live in Ohio, West Virginia, or their neighbors, you're experiencing one of the planet's entomological miracles:\u00a0periodical cicadas.\r\n\r\nDepending on the "brood" (this year's is\u00a0Brood V), periodical cicadas coordinate their life cycles over\u00a013 or 17 years. Brood V are 17-year cicadas, which means they were born in 1999 and have spent the years buried underground,\u00a0sucking the juice out of plant roots\u00a0\u2014 in fact, they're North America's\u00a0longest-living insect. Now, they're emerging, singing to mates, mating, laying eggs, and dying, all over the course of a few short weeks.\r\n\r\nTheir offspring will emerge again in\u00a02033.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n9. Bismuth crystals\r\nBismuth is a dense, super-shiny grey metal that's found in predictable places like\u00a0safety valves and paintings, but also\u00a0Pepto-Bismol.\r\n\r\nIf you melt it, then cool it very slowly, bismuth forms iridescent cubic crystals \u2014 even\u00a0on your own stove.\r\n\r\n\r\nWatch that magic happen here:\r\nhttps:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v=v8KYZHMkTHw\r\n10. Blood Falls\r\nBlood Falls, in one of the driest regions of Antarctica, is fed by an\u00a0underground lake. It's full of bacteria scientists want to study because they fuel themselves with\u00a0sulfates, instead of sugars like we do.\r\n\r\nThe water has so much iron in it that it\u00a0literally rusts\u00a0when it meets air, giving the waterfall its trademark color.\r\n\r\n\r\n11. Desert roses\r\nSting wasn't making it up: There really is such a thing as a desert rose.\r\n\r\nIt's a special form of the mineral\u00a0gypsum\u00a0that can develop in dry sandy places that occasionally flood. The\u00a0switching between\u00a0wet and dry lets gypsum crystals form\u00a0between grains of sand, trapping them.\r\n\r\n\r\n12. Giant permafrost explosions\r\nAs the climate is changing, new phenomena are developing \u2014 none quite so explosively as this one.\r\n\r\nIt turns out that if you heat frozen methane trapped in the Siberian permafrost enough, it turns into a gas, eventually building up so much pressure that\u00a0the ground explodes. The loud boom and giant hole these bursts create were first reported in 2013.\r\n\r\n\r\n13. Rainbow eucalyptus\r\nHailing from the Philippines and Indonesia, the rainbow eucalyptus, also known as the\u00a0rainbow gum, is probably the most colorful tree on Earth. Its striped look is caused by bark\u00a0turning colors and peeling away\u00a0as it ages.\r\n\r\nThe youngest bark is bright green because it contains chlorophyll (usually found in leaves), then turns the first purple then red then brown as it gets older, loses chlorophyll, and picks up tannins (also found in wine).\r\n\r\nIn an ironic twist,\u00a0huge amounts\u00a0of rainbow eucalyptus wood pulp are turned into white paper every year.\r\n\r\n\r\n14. Eye of the Sahara\r\nFormally known as the "Richtat structure," the Eye of the Sahara is in\u00a0Mauritania. Scientists are still trying to confirm how it was formed, but they think it's the eroded remains of a giant dome of the rock. If so, it would have originally formed when\u00a0magma pushing up\u00a0towards the surface of the Earth created a bulge, like a pimple.\r\n\r\nEach band of the ring is made of a different type of rock that\u00a0erodes at a different speed. It's also the "almost home"\u00a0signal for astronauts\u00a0landing in Florida. In fact,\u00a0astronauts are mostly responsible\u00a0for teaching us there's something there in the first place since the formation is difficult to recognize when you walk over it.\r\n\r\n\r\n15. Giant snake orgies\r\nMaybe you don't really like snakes, but how do you feel about tens of thousands of harmless snakes waiting out the winter in\u00a0underground limestone dens? That's a real thing in Manitoba, Canada, home of the highest concentration of snakes in the world,\u00a0according to National Geographic.\r\n\r\nIn May, they slither out of their nests to mate, with dozens of smaller male snakes lurking, waiting to ambush larger females.\r\n\r\n"Imagine trying to find a slightly bigger piece of spaghetti in a colander of spaghetti, and it's moving," Bob Mason, a scientist at Oregon State University,\u00a0told The New York Times\u00a0this spring.\r\n\r\n\r\nWatch the snakes in action here:\r\nhttps:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v=TST0AuFlJmY\r\n16. Bright red Lake Natron\r\nLake Natron, in Tanzania,\u00a0can hit\u00a0140 degrees Fahrenheit and, thanks to a\u00a0nearby volcano, alkalinity at the level of pure ammonia.\r\n\r\nThat means it's almost deserted, except for a particularly hardy fish, the microbes that make it look red, and lesser flamingoes. (The birds\u00a0actually use the lake as their only breeding ground \u2014 not just because they're color coordinated, but because there aren't very many predators around to eat the chicks.)\r\n\r\nBut animals that do die in the lake end up so coated in\u00a0baking soda\u00a0and similar chemicals that they look like they've been\u00a0turned to stone.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n17. Waterspouts\r\nWaterspouts look like liquid tornadoes, but while they\u00a0can\u00a0form during storms, they can also develop on\u00a0calm, open ocean\u00a0\u2014 swirling towers of wind climbing up from the water to the sky.\r\n\r\nThey are\u00a0most common\u00a0in the Florida Keys, although they've also been spotted on the Great Lakes.\r\n\r\n\r\n18. Clonal tree groves\r\nThat looks like a forest, right? All those trees you could walk between? Wrong. It's all one tree.\r\n\r\nUnderneath the soil, a dense network of roots connects all the shoots that look like\u00a047,000 trees from above.\r\n\r\nCalled the\u00a0quaking aspen\u00a0for its fluttery leaves, it usually grows into groves of identical clones, although it can reproduce sexually\u00a0on special occasions.\r\n\r\nThis grove, nicknamed\u00a0Pando, is one of the\u00a0oldest and largest\u00a0organisms in the world, although the original stem is long dead by now.\r\n\r\n\r\n19. Lake Maracaibo, lightning capital of the world\r\nLake Maracaibo in Venezuela sees more lightning strikes than anywhere else on Earth: In fact, there are thunderstorms here\u00a0300 days out of the year, according to a recent NASA study.\r\n\r\nThe area is so stormy because of cool mountain breezes and warm, moist air clash over the lake, creating electricity.\r\n\r\n\r\n20. Eternal flame falls\r\nIn upstate New York, near the Canadian border, there is a small waterfall hiding a big surprise: a shoot of fire about\u00a0eight inches tall.\r\n\r\nBehind the waterfall is a\u00a0natural gas seep\u00a0that feeds the flame.\r\n\r\nIt's sheltered enough by the waterfall to stay lit pretty reliably, although hikers do\u00a0re-light\u00a0it if they see it's been blown out. (We should note that it's not 100% natural \u2014 but too cool to skip.)\r\n\r\nThese burning gas seeps are actually\u00a0fairly common, but this one is\u00a0more interesting and younger\u00a0than most \u2014 and very photogenic.\r\n\r\n\r\n21. Spotted Lake\r\nCanada's Spotted Lake is famous for its summer style, which is heavy on the polka dots.\r\n\r\nThat's because the lake's water actually evaporates every summer. It leaves behind large spots, colorful deposits of\u00a0a dozen minerals.\r\n\r\nFurther proof Spotted Lake is out of this world: Scientists are using it as a model for how\u00a0ancient Martian lakes\u00a0may have worked.\r\n\r\n\r\nFly over Spotted Lake, also called Kliluk Lake, in this video:\r\nhttps:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v=wk17aEMZsTE\r\n22. Goats! In trees!\r\nMoroccan goats have\u00a0learned to climb trees\u00a0in order to better snack on their tasty Argan fruit.\r\n\r\nLocal farmers like the goats so much (and their Argun-nut-filled poop, which the farmers turn into oil) that they've\u00a0brought more goats\u00a0in to enjoy the buffet.\r\n\r\n\r\n23. Nacreous clouds\r\nUsually spotted only near the poles, nacreous clouds form\u00a0very high\u00a0in the atmosphere (twice as high as commercial airplanes fly), where the air is particularly cold and dry.\r\n\r\nThe colorful shine actually comes from the\u00a0setting sun being lower\u00a0in the sky than the clouds, so they reflect sunbeams back toward Earth.\r\n\r\nUnfortunately, while they're beautiful, nacreous clouds also\u00a0destroy ozone, the compound that protects us from the sun's most dangerous rays.\r\n\r\n\r\n24. Green sand beaches\r\nThis probably isn't what comes to mind when you dream of tropical beaches.\u00a0Papakolea, also known as Green Sand Beach, in Hawaii is one of\u00a0only a couple beaches\u00a0in the world with green sand.\r\n\r\nThe remarkable hue comes from\u00a0olivine rock\u00a0that was formed during eruptions of the\u00a0nearby volcano.\r\n\r\n\r\n25. A starling murmuration, aka a 'black sun'\r\nAn individual starling\u00a0isn't much to look at. But put hundreds or thousands together and these birds turn into an\u00a0incredible dance\u00a0known officially as a murmuration and nicknamed a "black sun."\r\n\r\nThe flocks can be seen in the US and Europe,\u00a0particularly in England, although the bird's British population is now\u00a0only a third\u00a0of what it was 40 years ago.\r\n\r\nThe flock's complex choreography boils down to\u00a0just a couple simple rules, like follow your neighbor.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nCredits:\u00a0businessinsider.com\r\n\r\nShare this story on Facebook with your friends.