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20 Stunning Nature Photos That Will Leave You Speechless

20 Stunning Nature Photos That Will Leave You Speechless

Maybe you have seen dramatic photos of natural phenomena that leave you breathless, amazed or even frightened. They can be anything from freak weather to astronomical mysteries or weird rock formations and landscapes.

Here are my top 20 favorite stunning nature photos of all time.

1. Danxia, China

Danxia

    Colorful sandstone and minerals deposited over millions of years give us the incredibly varied landscape in this stunning nature photo. Wind and rain have sculpted the rocks into valleys, gulleys, and rolling hillsides.

    2. Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia

    Bondi icebergs NSW

      Stormy weather meant that there were not many swimmers around at the famous Bondi Icebergs swimming club at Bondi Beach when this photo was taken.

      3. Mammatus clouds

      Mammaryclouds

        These clouds are known as mammary clouds, due to their resemblance to cows’ udders. They are rare because they form in sinking air. Most clouds are made in rising air.

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        4. Bioluminescent waves

        bioluminiscentwaves

          These waves glow at night because the water is full of phytoplankton, which is luminous and gives off a weird blue light.

          5. Light pillars over Ruka ski slopes, Finland

          lightpillars

            These pillars are formed by the reflection of ice crystals in the moonlight.

            6. Volcanic lightning, Iceland

            volcanic lightning

              A spectacular show is caused by the volcanic eruption which tosses positively charged debris into the air, which is full of negative charges. The result is lightning. It is rare to see these two phenomena present together.

              7. Fire rainbows over Albuquerque, New Mexico

              firerainbows

                This is a fairly rare phenomenon. The sun must be 58 degrees above the horizon when there are some cirrus clouds which contain ice crystals.

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                8. Aurora, Lapland

                auroras

                  These strange colorful effects occur when particles from a solar flare are released. They then penetrate the earth’s magnetic field, colliding with atoms in the atmosphere. These bursts of light and color are the result of the collisions.

                  9. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

                  Giant'scauseway

                    About 65 million years ago, there was intense volcanic activity in this area. In the cooling process, perpendicular basalt blocks and a pavement-like structure were created.

                    10. Waterspouts

                    waterspouts

                      These are tornados that form over the water’s surface.

                      11. Hessdalen lights, Norway

                      Hessdalen lights

                        An unexplained phenomenon and loved by UFO enthusiasts! The most likely explanation is that air turns to plasma and produces these effects. There are copper-rich rocks on one side of the valley and iron-rich strata on the other side.

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                        12. Storms at Catatumbo, Venezuela

                        Catatumbo

                          It’s no surprise to learn that the storms here are so frequent that they are known as the everlasting storm. They happen on average once every two days and can last as long as 10 hours each. The lightning displays are unbelievable.

                          13. The Gateway to Hell, Darvaze, Turkmenistan

                          Gatewaytohell

                            This all happened by chance. Gas drillers had an accident in 1971 which caused a crater to open up. It then caught fire because of the released gas and it has been burning ever since. But that’s nothing compared to a similar flame which has been burning in Iraq for 4,000 years and is even mentioned in the Old Testament!

                            14. Steam vents in Hevrir, Iceland

                            steamtowers

                              The Hevrir area in Iceland is geothermally active and releases vast quantities of steam and gas, often forming towers.

                              15. Pororoca tidal wave, River Amazon

                              Pororoca

                                The longest tidal wave in the world! Fancy a bit of surfing on this tidal wave which can travel up to 500 miles along the Amazon? One Brazilian surfer actually managed to surf it for about 8 miles. It took him 37 minutes. This wave only happens every six months when the Atlantic tides reach as far as the mouth of the River Amazon.

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                                16. Starling murmurations over Gretna, Scotland

                                murmurations

                                  These huge flocks of starlings fly in beautiful and fascinating formations, usually at twilight in winter. A superb example of teamwork and co-ordination, without any GPS devices!

                                  17. Flowering desert, Atacama, Chile

                                  Floweringdesert

                                    A barren landscape regenerated by infrequent heavy rains which have transformed long dormant seeds and bulbs into a beautiful garden.

                                    18. Dragon blood trees, Socotra, Yemen

                                    Socotra

                                      These rare, umbrella-shaped dragon blood trees get their name from their dark red resin. Socotra has unique flora and fauna, a third of which are found nowhere else on the planet!

                                      19. Frozen methane bubbles, Alberta, Canada

                                      methanebubbles

                                        These methane bubbles are found in Abraham Lake. If they melt, just don’t light a match nearby.

                                        20. Asperatus clouds, Lofoten Islands, Norway

                                        Asperatus
                                          ©Ragnhild M Hansen http://www.viewbug.com/photo/11072531

                                          You might be forgiven for thinking this is a Van Gogh painting, but it is not—it’s the last of our stunning nature photos! These asperatus clouds are new guys on the block. They are so mysterious that they were only classified for the first time in 2009.

                                          Featured photo credit: Jiroj Amaralikit via ink361.com

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                                          Robert Locke

                                          Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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                                          Last Updated on August 12, 2019

                                          12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

                                          12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

                                          Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

                                          But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

                                          I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

                                          Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

                                          1. Nuts

                                          The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

                                          Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

                                          Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

                                          Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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                                          2. Blueberries

                                          Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

                                          When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

                                          3. Tomatoes

                                          Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

                                          4. Broccoli

                                          While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

                                          Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

                                          Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

                                          5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

                                          Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

                                          The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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                                          Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

                                          6. Soy

                                          Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

                                          Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

                                          Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

                                          7. Dark Chocolate

                                          When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

                                          Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

                                          8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

                                          Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

                                          B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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                                          Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

                                          Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

                                          To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

                                          9. Foods Rich in Zinc

                                          Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

                                          Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

                                          Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

                                          10. Gingko Biloba

                                          This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

                                          It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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                                          However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

                                          11. Green and Black Tea

                                          Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

                                          Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

                                          Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

                                          12. Sage and Rosemary

                                          Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

                                          Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

                                          When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

                                          More About Boosting Brain Power

                                          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                                          Reference

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