Our understanding of the world has changed a lot over the years. We no longer think the earth is flat – well, most of us don’t anyway – we know how volcanoes work, and we’ve explored almost every inch of land we can reach. With that said, there are some places that still baffle us – whether we’re the locals who have lived there all our lives or the scientists that go there just to study. That’s right, today I’m counting down the top 10 scientifically impossible places that actually exist.
10: Devil’s Kettle
When you think of dangerous and scientifically impossible places, Minnesota probably isn’t the first place to come mind. However, maybe it should be, as on the north shore of Lake Superior, there is a terrifying secret.
Basically: there is a huge waterfall split into two by rocks, and while half the water continues into the river uninterrupted, the other half vanishes from sight. It plunges 10 feet down and then disappears somewhere underground, but after that, its path is a mystery.
Scientists have done everything to figure out where the stream re-emerges from the cave system, but they still have no answer. They’ve tried everything from throwing down little-colored balls to dyeing the water itself, but whatever they throw into the mysterious hole never shows up again.
All people can do is warn tourists not to get too close, as if they were to fall down into The Devil’s Kettle’s depth, who knows where… or when… or if… they’d turn up.
9: Fire Eagle Nest, Siberia
You know when you go somewhere and the energy just feels wrong and scary? Well, that’s exactly how the explorers of this next place felt. Fire Eagle Nest is a crater in the middle of Siberian woods, which locals have always known as a place of evil. The weird thing is, nobody knows much more than that.
The crater can’t be more than a few hundred years old and couldn’t have been made by a meteor-like scientists first thought. Even weirder, the trees closest to it have experienced extremely accelerated growth, just like those near infamous nuclear meltdown sites.
Anyone who gets too close experiences extreme nausea and headaches. One explorer, Eugene Vorobiev, dropped dead of a heart attack just a few kilometres from the crater, despite having a perfect health. Not exactly a place for the bucket list, unless you’re ready to accept the consequences.
8: Ringing Rocks of Pennsylvania
When people think of famous stones, they probably think of Stonehenge or the Giant’s Causeway, or maybe the Blarney Stone if they’re feeling particularly adventurous. However, Pennsylvania has its own set of unusual rocks, and just like Stonehenge, the exact details of their history are pretty murky.
At first, Pennsylvania’s Ringing Rocks just look like a pile of giant stones, but it doesn’t take long to figure out that they’re not what they seem. One-third of them will stay silent when hit with a hammer, while another third will give off a dull crash. However, the last third ring like bells when they’re struck, giving out a beautiful clear note, and absolutely no-one can figure out why.
With that said, if a place full of singing rocks doesn’t tickle your fancy, then you might want to go somewhere the complete opposite. Mexico’s Zone of Silence is exactly what it sounds like: a place where no outside noise can reach you: whether that’s radio programs, mobile phone signals, or even WiFi.
The zone is only 50 kilometers wide, but once you’re inside it you’re practically unreachable. You can’t receive phone calls or check Twitter, you can’t radio for help if you get hurt – even NASA’s equipment fails once inside. That’s already pretty spooky, but add to that the fact that the zone is in the middle of a barren desert, and you might as well be on another planet.
So why does it happen? Well no matter who you ask, they’ll say the answer is right above your head. Many claim it is because of the unusual amount of meteorite activity in the area – with two landing just years apart on the same ranch. Others have a similar but spookier answer: that years of alien monitoring has canceled out our own human signals.
7: Shanay-Timpishka, The Boiling River
Deep in the Amazon rainforest, there’s a river that boils at a temperature of 196 degrees Fahrenheit or 91.1 degrees Celsius. The water boils everything that touches it, whether that’s unsuspecting frogs or fish that realize too late that the water is heating up.
The deadly temperature already means that the place is a unique one, but things actually get much much weirder when you know the details. The thing is, only one phenomenon can cause river temperatures to get so high, and that’s if the water is on top of or right next to a volcano. Unfortunately for scientists, the nearest volcano is almost 700 kilometers away, far too distant to have any kind of impact.
People are clueless as to what else could be causing the water to boil, as it behaves unlike any river anywhere else in the world. Some say it runs over a fault line in the earth, while others say the gods have created it: as they like to watch animals fall in and cook from the inside out as they try to escape… not a very happy place, is it?
6: The Petrifying Well
Everyone’s heard the story of Medusa: the beautiful woman with snakes for hair, who can turn men to stone with just one look. Likewise, tons of people have read the Chronicles of Narnia, and know about the evil queen who turns her enemies into statues for her garden. Those are just stories of course, but there is a place in England that can do almost exactly the same thing.
That’s right, deep in North Yorkshire, there’s a cave called the Petrifying Well, where water runs down the sides and into the ground. People go there to leave everything from keys to teddy bears by the water, because when they return weeks later… they know they will find those same items turned to stone.
Now, items petrifying isn’t that unusual, it happens anywhere cave water has high mineral content. However, this process usually takes hundreds of years, which is why stalactites and stalagmites take such an extraordinarily long time to form. No-one can explain how this process can take just weeks in one random cave in England, but tourists flock there daily to see the proof for themselves.
5: The Blue Pond of Hokkaido
Normally impossible places are naturally occurring: they were around long before humans discovered them, and they will continue to baffle scientists until humans no longer exist. However, this one is unique in that humans literally created it but still can’t explain how it works.
Here’s the story: residents of Hokkaido tried to create a reservoir, but when they made a dam to block the river, something unusual happened to the water. They managed to create the lake they wanted, but the water wasn’t transparent, it was an opaque sparkling blue.
Not only that, but the shade of blue changed with the seasons, going from a light turquoise to a deep sapphire color. Some scientists have suggested that the concentration of aluminium hydroxide could be causing the metallic blue color, but the truth is that the situation is so unique… it’s hard to prove anything. This is definitely one spot you need to see with your own eyes, as it’s hard to believe it could exist otherwise.
4: Kalachi, The Sleeping City
Now many of the places in this list are unusual, but they’re not at all harmful, which actually makes them pretty good places to live. However, this impossible place had a very strange effect on its residents, and it’s an effect that people still don’t fully understand.
Essentially: people living in the city of Kalachi in Kazakhstan spent a whole year unable to stay awake. All throughout 2013, residents of the town would just fall asleep in the middle of their day: halfway through class, on the way home from grocery shopping, even just sitting in the park.
The uncontrollable naps happened to everyone, no matter how young or old they were, and even animals would drift off randomly and unexpectedly. Then, as soon as it had begun to happen, it went away again, leaving residents of the town even more confused than before.
Since then, some have suggested that the uranium mine under the city was to blame, as the carbon monoxide it gave off lessened the oxygen in the air and made people drowsy. That could be true, but then why would the effects just suddenly stop? And why did no-one notice it was happening?
3: Catatumbo Everlasting Lightning Storm
Lightning is a powerful and mysterious force, and there are many things about it we don’t fully understand. With that said, maybe the biggest lightning-related mystery is the Catatumbo River in Venezuela, where the storms literally never stop.
Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, as there was a time back in 2010 when the storms stopped for over a month. Other than that period, the sky over the river displays lightning almost every day, sometimes a massive 260 days out of the year.
The lightning starts at around seven o’clock in the evening and then rages all the way until sunrise. Many scientists have gone there to verify the claims of locals, and all have confirmed them, but no-one is any closer to finding an explanation as to why it happens.
Once people hypothesized that it was due to uranium in the atmosphere, but that was quickly dismissed as a fringe theory. The thing is, no other explanation has come up at all, no matter how many times scientists visit and stare, and so the whole area remains a mystery.
2: Twin Village
Unless you’re watching a few very specific horror movies, twins are nothing to be afraid of, they’re not even particularly unusual. However, there is one place on Earth where twins are so normal that they actually become unusual… simply because there are so many of them.
Now, here’s the thing: the number of twins born per year varies depending on where you live, and Asian countries tend to have the lowest rates of all. Normally, their rates are around four cases of twins in every thousand, unless you live in Twin Town.
In twin town, 45 pregnancies out of every thousand result in twins, and that number is on the rise. Every year, more and more twins are born, and nobody knows why. Is it something in the air? Something in the water? Nobody knows, scientists are just sure that something must be causing the anomaly.
Aside from that though, families live completely normal lives: going to school with 40 other twins in a class and living in the town with over 220 pairs of twins total. Creepy? Maybe a little, but its also kind of sweet if you think about it.
1: Lake Vostok
It’s often said that space is the most extreme habitat humans have discovered, and that’s certainly true. However, if you want to see a truly extreme ecosystem without jumping in a rocket, then East Antarctica is where you really need to go.
Lake Vostok is a sub-glacial lake, which means it’s buried under miles and miles of ice. The water is thousands of years old, and any information we have about it is from readings we’ve done from the surface. You’d think that in such inhospitable conditions, nothing could possibly survive, and yet scientists examining the area found that just wasn’t the case.
Oh no, there was definitely life in the lake, and more life than any scientist expected. They found over 3,500 different species of bacteria living in the water, and they were unlike anything living anywhere else. Without access to sunlight, they’d evolved to survive on just the minerals in rocks and had learned to thrive in the icy cold and pure dark waters.
Most interestingly of all, many of these “extremophiles” as they are called could easily live on Jupiter, making them thousands of times more indestructible than humans. We might not survive the apocalypse, but they definitely will.
Can you explain any of these places, and which ones would you most like to visit? Let me know in the comments down below.