Over the many millennia of our existence, science has resolved many mysteries. Answered many questions. Hypothesized and theorized about the nature of our world and beyond. Human understanding of nature has been exponentially improved.
Despite our ever increasing knowledge, there are still many things that baffle scientists. And we’re not just talking about crazy, multi-dimensional, theoretical physics. We’re talking about physical phenomena that to this day make scientists scratch their head.
Check out our top 5 natural phenomena that have yet to be explained:
- Nazca Lines: These are massive artworks carved into Peru’s coastal desert. Archaeologists and historians date the lines to anywhere between the time period 500 BC to 500 AD. Their creators are believed to be the Nazca people. Besides this, very little is known. Their purpose and their meaning remain elusive.
- Ball Lightning: As opposed to characteristic streaks, lightning of this type takes on the form of a sphere during thunderstorms. While scientists persist in their skepticism of its existence, ball lightning continues to be described by eyewitnesses all the time. In fact it has been described as far back as ancient Greece. There are many suggestions, but few answers.
- Wandering Rocks of Death Valley: Also called sailing stones, these rocks traverse miles across desert or dried-up lakes. Of course they don’t cover miles in a day, but scientists have tracked 30 stones—some weighing up to 25 kg—that have moved up to 200 miles over the course of 7 years. Scientists have noted that the stones seem to travel most in the winter. The best theory right now is that ice remains frozen on rocks long than on the surface surrounding them. This ice reduces the rock’s contact with the ground, enabling it to be moved by the elements more easily.
- Stone Spheres of Costa Rica: Believed to be crafted by the extinct Diquis culture, these giant balls are fascinating, but mysterious. They were found in the 1930s by the United Fruit Company, but they certainly had been discovered before when the Spanish landed there in the 16th century. Dated to between 600 and 1000 AD, their meaning has been lost to time. The Spanish plunder and destruction of the region also doesn’t help modern archaeologists at all.
- Monarch Butterfly Migration: North American monarch butterflies migrate every winter for warmer, southern lands—over 2,000 miles away. For a long time, no one knew exactly where they went. In the 1976, two zoologists—Norah Urquhart and her husband Fred— after years of tagging the butterflies, found their destination: the ‘Mountain of Butterflies,’ a mountain forest in Mexico. While this by itself is intriguing, what is more perplexing is how the butterflies know how to find their way there. Using the sun provides only a general direction, leading scientists to think they must use landmarks to identify where they are. And not big landmarks like the ocean or Gulf of Mexico, but specific, local ones. That’s incredible.