December 22, 2017 8:00 am

Solar eclipse, snownados and firefalls: Rare natural phenomena of 2017

WATCH: Did you see the solar eclipse this year?

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Nature can do wild things and 2017 has seen its fair share of natural phenomena. If it be a solar eclipse that grabbed the attention of people across North America, or amazing snownados, the world can be a beautiful but sometimes hostile place.

Here is a roundup of some of the most notable natural phenomena from the year that stirred up a lot of discussion on social media.

Solar eclipse 2017

Millions of people in North America had the chance to view a solar eclipse as it moved across the continent on Aug. 21.

Many had their viewing glasses ready and several states in the U.S. saw the moon completely cover the sun. Canadians were able to see a partial eclipse.

The solar eclipse has a history of being associated with strange myths. While these days it’s a popular spectacle, it used to be regarded as a bad omen.

Sea creatures in Australia

In August, Sam Kanizay, 16, stumped marine biologists when he walked out of the water at a beach in Melbourne, Australia, with his feet and ankles covered in what looked like hundreds of little pin holes that were bleeding profusely.

Kanizay’s father, Jarrod, said hospital staff had no idea what kind of creature could have caused the injuries.

But experts later said they believe the teenager was severely bitten by amphipods, a type of sea scavenging crustacean, commonly known as sea lice.

Sharks feeding on large school of fish


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Mesmerizing drone footage shot in the Hamptons on Long Island in August captured a herd of sharks feeding on a large school of menhaden, also known as bunker fish.

According to ocean experts, the phenomenon may be rare to capture on camera but a common occurrence.

Jason McNamee, scientific advisor for the Conservation for the Oceans Foundation based in Vancouver, B.C., said storm systems commonly push bait fish into shore on North America’s east coast.

Fire tornado

Have you ever heard of a fire tornado, otherwise known as a “firenado?” In February, one swept through Western Australia and it was captured on video.

The 300-metre high black vortex torched a ranch and sent horses running. The spiralling pillar of flames formed after a brush fire ignited the day before.

The person who shot the video said the flames were nearly 60 feet into the air.

Snownado

Tornadoes can also take form with snow. A group of hikers in December captured an impressive “snownado,” otherwise known as a snow devil forming in Tatra National Park in Poland.

The tornado swept across the park, sucking up the surrounding snow in the area.

Upstream waterfall

So, you thought waterfalls couldn’t flow upstream? Think again. A waterfall in England was flowing upstream in October after high winds from Tropical Storm Ophelia cause the rare phenomenon.

After the gale force winds subsided, the waterfall on Mallerstang Edge in Cumbria corrected its flow.

Rare firefall in California

A natural phenomenon dubbed “firefall” has wowed visitors of California’s Yosemite National Park February, as the setting sun turned a waterfall into a flowing stream of molten lava.

The optical illusion happens yearly and draws scores of photographers to a spot near Horsetail Fall, which flows down the granite face of the park’s famed rock formation, El Capitan.

Ocean floor exposed

The coastline around Long Island in the Bahamas became visible in September after Hurricane Irma’s power caused the ocean to recede.

The phenomenon was first seen in the Bahamas when a resident posted a video on Twitter that depicted a beach with no water. The video shows a patch of damp sand with conch shells and docks.

Wayne Neely, a forecaster with the Bahamas Department of Meteorology that this particular phenomenon also took place during a 1936 hurricane affecting Acklins Island in the Bahamas.

With files from Katie Dangerfield, Jenny Rodrigues, Adam Frisk, Maham Abedi, Jessica Vomiero Global News. 

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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