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Did you know? facts!

December 01, 2017

Waterspouts

Waterspouts are exactly what they look like, and exactly as awesome as they sound: they’re tornadoes that form over water. Because of this, they don’t pose a major threat unless you happen to be in a boat — but if you are, then watch out, because these things can achieve speeds of up to 190 miles (305 kilometres) per hour. In fact, it’s been speculated that many mysterious shipwrecks — such as those

within the Bermuda Triangle — are simply a result of bad luck with waterspouts. They can occur anywhere over water, but are especially prevalent in the Florida Keys, where there can be 400 or 500 waterspouts a year.


Volcanic lightning

It is a lightning storm that takes place in the middle of a volcanic eruption. Scientists aren’t 100 percent sure why this happens, but the primary theory goes that when a volcano erupts, it projects positively-charged debris into the atmosphere. These charges then react with negative charges already present, which results in a bolt of lightning.


Supercells

If Superman is basically a stronger, more flight-enabled version of a regular man, then a supercell is basically a stronger, more tornado-enabled version of a regular storm cell. This is because — much like tornadoes — supercells have the tendency to spin around a lot, but also — and more importantly —because supercells can actually create tornadoes. They are the most dangerous in major storm types, in addition to being the scariest to look at. Thankfully, they’re also the most rare, and tend to be confined to the central US during the springtime.


Penitentes

This cool ice formation is found high in the mountains. These spiky fields of ice are called penitentes, and each individual shard can be up to a whopping 13 feet (four metres) high.

These intimidating snow structures are formed in high-altitude areas with low humidity, such as the glaciers of the Andes Mountains. If the conditions are right, the sun’s rays are so hot that they can actually sublimate fields of snow — meaning that the frozen water vaporises without ever becoming a liquid. This leads to slight pockets in the ice, which — thanks to their shape —actually end up attracting even more heat. The sharp spikes, then, are just the lucky parts of the snowfield that the sun didn’t target for complete and utter annihilation.

Published in Dawn, Young World, December 1st, 2017