The truth behind mysterious phenomena in nature

From the waters of the Indian Ocean to the surrealistic landscape of Namibia, let's take a look at these completely natural illusions below.


You may think that this is an oil painting of some famous artist, but actually it’s a forest in the Deadvlei white clay, near the famous salt lake Sossusvlei in Namibia. Located in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, Deadvlei has a lot of acacia erioloba trees that have not been decomposed because of the overheating temperature here. The picture was taken at a low angle, so the far sand turned into a bright orange-yellow sunlight.

Photo: Anna Morgan

Underground waterfall in Indian Ocean

Along the coast of Mauritius, there is a turquoise blue river of the Indian Ocean. Many people mistakenly claim that this is one of the world's underground waterfalls, but that's not true. In this illusion, the water we see is actually the sand from the Mascarene Plateau washed away by the sea.

Photo: Myroslava Bozhko

The salt field in Bolivia

The salt field of Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia - the largest salt field in the world - is the perfect place for those who love to take photos of illusion art. With a large area, you will not see the boundary of this salt field. Coming there, tourists can create many impressive photos with stunning background.

Photo: Olga Kot Photo

Horsetail Fall

Every year, around the second week of February, when the sun falls on the Horsetail Fall at a certain angle, you will feel like standing in front of a volcano. If the weather is nice, you can admire the brilliant orange waterfall flowing down from the cliffs.

Photo: Dan Dunn

The Wave

This unique undulating rock pattern is named “The Wave”, located in central Arizona, in the northern area of Coyote Buttes. This is part of the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The ripples combined with the depths of the rocks create an interesting illusion and enhance the art of the scene.

Photo: Vyshnivskyy

Tatra Mountains, Slovakia

You will be able to see your reflection printed on cliffs and thick mist when coming to the High Tatra Mountains, Slovakia. The ring-shaped rainbow is made up of optical phenomena when sunlight is exposed to water droplets in the atmosphere. All create a very illusionary feeling.

Photo: MagMac83

Fata Morgana

As one of the optical illusions in nature, the Fata Morgana phenomenon is caused by light bending as it passes through the air layer that is warmer than its lower surface. Including some inverted, upright, stacked images, Fata Morgana appears under deformed objects, making us feel like they are floating on the horizon.

Photo: Runway

Lake in the desert

Contrary to Fata Morgana, the mirage of a lake in the desert is created when the air near the sea or near the Earth's surface is much warmer than the air above it. Light passing through these layers of air is bent, creating an illusion of motion and reversing the object that appears beneath the object. Therefore, we would mistakenly think there is a lake in the far side of the desert, but there really is no lake at all.

Photo: Isokutnikov

Wet road under the sun

This is another example of the mirage phenomenon in the desert. Like sand in the desert, the road surface keeps heat and warms the air just above it. Our brains will mistakenly recognize the reflection of the cloud in the sky as water on the ground when reflecting light.

Photo: Artesia Wells


Sundogs, also known as parahelia, are created when sunlight is refracted by ice crystals drifting in the air. As a result, one or more bright spots will lie around the sun.

Photo: Gen-Shtab


By: Cole Guthrie

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