Today we’re taking a Ripley’s Round Trip to check out the most bizarre natural phenomena around the world including a few that Robert Ripley himself witnessed during his expeditions.

Wait… Blood?

What better way to kick off our strange nature list than with the Blood Falls in Antartica. I mean, the name says it all. The Blood Falls in East Antarctica’s McMurdo Dry Valleys has a bright red substance oozing out of a snowy glacier making for quite a creepy site.

Blood Falls

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Of course it’s not actually blood, so what’s causing this bizarre occurrence? When geologists first discovered the falls in 1911, they had thought the cause of the color came from algae, however, the falls actually comes from a complex network of subglacial rivers and lakes filled with brine so high in iron that when the iron-rich water comes into contact with the air suddenly, it rusts—depositing blood red stains on the ice as it falls.

You Never Sausage a Tree

Ripley encountered all sorts of bizarre phenomena during his thirty-five years of exploration, notedly from his trip to Kenya. Tropical Africa is no stranger to fascinating nature and the sausage tree is a striking standout amongst other species and for good reason with its oddly shaped fruit and blood-red flowers, this tree fascinated Robert Ripley himself during his expedition to Kisumu, Kenya.

Sausage Tree

Believe It or Not! the rind of the fruit is used to aid the fermentation of the local brews while the pods are kept as religious charms and produce a red dye when boiled. Additionally, ointment can be made from the fruit and is also used to treat skin conditions. But be warned the fruit of the sausage tree is poisonous to humans if eaten.

Chickens With Tails? No Egg-aggeration

When Ripley’s travels brought him to Japan, he encountered a very rare animal with a most peculiar feature. Chickens with tails that were 24 feet long! These chickens were bred in the 17th century on Shikoku island in southern Japan, and were designated a Japanese National Natural Treasure in 1952. Believe It or Not! these Japanese long- tail fowls have tails that can reach up to 50 feet in length.

Crystal Cave

Buried almost a thousand feet beneath a mountain in Chihuahua, Mexico. Giant crystals can be found anchored to the walls and floor of a sweltering cave that have experienced at least half a million years of uninterrupted growth. Many of the crystals are so long and wide, you can actually walk across them! But what makes these giant crystals so giant? Well, regional fault lines pass right underneath this cavern and about 26 million years ago, magma started pushing its way toward the Earth’s surface through those faults.

Ultimately, that process along with the high temperatures and calcium sulfate–rich water inside the cave helps to explain how these massive crystals formed. The Giant Crystal Cave itself wasn’t found until the year 2000. The water that filled the cave was pumped out by a mining Company before anyone realized that it was full of gargantuan selenite columns. Brothers Pedro and Juan Sanchez — two miners with the organization — became the first people to lay eyes on its crystals when they entered the drying cave on foot. 

Well explorers, hopefully this episode has brought you a taste of the bizarre travel world, until next time… Happy adventuring!


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