'Frozen Abyss' by Willie Huang

Stunning Bubbles Frozen Under Lake Abraham

Frozen bubbles of methane trapped beneath Alberta’s Lake Abraham are beautiful, but dangerous if popped

By Natasha Geiling Smithsonian Magazine, January 30, 2014

“These frozen bubbles under Alberta’s Lake Abraham might look like winter jewels, but you wouldn’t want to be too close to one if it popped: the bubbles are actually frozen pockets of methane, a highly flammable gas. Most of the time, methane escaping from the surface of water is relatively harmless—but if you happen to be lighting a match at the time one of these bubbles explodes, watch out.

Methane bubbles form in bodies of water when dead organic matter (leaves and animals) falls into the water and sinks to the bottom, to the delight of bacteria waiting below. The bacteria munches on the matter and poops out methane, which turns to white floating blobs when it comes into contact with frozen water. Methane is formed in thousands of lakes around the arctic, but decreasing permafrost means more and more of this methane is being released into the atmosphere, a worrying trend for climate scientists who note that methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.”

Read more: Smithsonian Magazine

6 Beautiful Places on Earth (That are Secretly Horrifying)

If someone forced me to give two adjectives for Gaia, I would collectively use “fickle” and “bitch.” If the reasons for such adjectives weren’t already clear, let me clarify. Earth home to some incredibly beautiful landscapes; however, many of those landscapes can kill you in very slow, very excruciating ways. I guess that’s the appeal of certain places– like Mount Everest, for instance. The mountain is littered with the mummified corpses of hundreds of people who tried, and failed, to summit the mountain. Sometimes, nature should come with a warning that says: “You can look, but don’t touch” (“and just to be safe, you probably shouldn’t breathe without special gear either”).

To showcase this, we have complied several of our favorite beautifully misleading places: