The Mysterious Penitentes
First described by Charles Darwin in literature in 1839, penitentes are rare, unique snow formations found at high altitudes above 4,000 meters on the Andes mountains. They are called “penitentes” because the white spikes resemble processions of white-hooded monks. They take the form of tall thin blades of hardened snow, or ice, with the blades pointing towards the general direction of the sun. Penitentes range in size from several centimeters to over 5 meters tall.
They are rare because they only appear in the dry Andes Mountain region on the border of Argentina and Chile. It is believed their formation is due to strong winds. This was Darwin’s explanation and no one has come up with a better one for their existence in over 170 years.
Leafy Sea Dragons
These stunning sea dragon pictures illuminate their mysterious beauty and extraordinary adaptations. The near-invisibility of their fins gives the sea dragons the appearance of floating seaweed that is drifting with the currents. Instead of scales, they have protective armor to ward off predators. The row of spines along their backs can also wound attackers. At other times they will curl into balls like porcupines in self defense. Truly extraordinary creatures.