25 Bizarre Ocean Phenomena You Won’t Believe Are Real

Posted by , Updated on March 23, 2024

Even with the progress in technology, there’s still a great deal we don’t understand about the ocean and its vast enigmas. Interested in uncovering these mysteries? The ocean is full of lost civilizations, weird sounds and strange creatures waiting to be explored and studied. Check out these 25 Unbelievable Ocean Phenomena You Won’t Believe Are True.



The Lost City of Atlantis

LOWER_LEVEL_AQUARIUM,_ATLANTIS_HOTEL,_NASSAUSource: http://www.history.com/topics/atlantis

The Lost City of Atlantis is about as famous of an ocean myth as anyone could get, but would you believe that some scientists think this island existed? Originally written down by Plato, Atlantis is believed to be the Minoan civilization, a highly advanced early civilization that was devastated by a volcanic eruption on the island of Santorini.


White Sea Foam

sea foamSource: http://www.marineinsight.com

Looking like a lather someone could use for shaving, sea foam stands as a common head-scratcher for people walking along the beach. The culprit behind white sea foam appears to be single-celled alga that takes on a powdery substance. Mixed with the ocean, it creates a foam that washes ashore.


USS Scorpion Disappearance

Uss_scorpion_SSN589Source: http://www.historynet.com

In 1968, the USS Scorpion was a skipjack nuclear sub that mysteriously disappeared in the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the mysteries surrounding it, many theories and conspiracy theories have bubbled up from a soviet attack, a malfunctioning trash unit, or an exploding torpedo causing a fire in the sub.


Beached Whales

Beached_sperm_whale,_NorfolkSource: http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Also called “Cetacean stranding,” the beached whales’ phenomenon baffles scientists to this day. Occurring when whales get too close to the shore, the moment they’re stranded on land, it’s near impossible to get them back in the ocean, leading to dehydration. Of course, scientists have a bunch of theories including sonar messing with their echolocation.


Red Tide

La-Jolla-Red-Tide.780Source: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov

If red tide sounds menacing, ominous, and dangerous, that’s because it is. It’s created by colonies of algae that grow out of control and produce a harmful toxin that kills sea life and can be incredibly harmful to humans. To make matters worse, the algae bloom can make the surrounding air dangerous to breathe as well.


The Bermuda Triangle

Bermuda_TriangleSource: http://www.history.com

The Bermuda Triangle is a general area in the Caribbean where several mysterious shipwrecks and plane disappearances occurred without notice, vanishing without a trace. Stories go all the way back to Christopher Columbus, who claimed compass readings were erratic in the area. Later, Navy bombers claimed to get disoriented in the area as well. Most scientists, however, claim there is nothing to prove there’s any special about the area and that crashes and disappearances happen all over the world, leading them to say that this mystery is actually solved.


Kaz II

catamaran-737722_640Source: https://www.theguardian.com

Drifting off the Australian Great Barrier Reef, the Kaz II was found with the engine idling and everything in order except the three men that set sail. These men have never been found again without so much as a whiff of what happened. Many speculate their ship was attacked by pirates, they faked their deaths for life insurance, or that it was just a freak accident and they drowned.



River_surfing_-_Severn_boreSource: http://strangesounds.org

A tidal bore is a surfers dream come true and ocean phenomenon that creates continuous waves. One particular place is the Pororoca where the Atlantic Ocean waves meet the Amazon River, creating massive 12-feet high waves.


Cannibal Shark

Lemon-shark-at-the-Oregon-Coast-Aquarim1Source: http://people.com

While tracking Great White populations, a 9-foot Great White shark did something scientists weren’t expecting, it ate a smaller Great White shark. They threw out a few suggestions of why this might have happened, including a territorial dispute and extreme hunger.


If you like stories about sharks, you’ll want to check out 25 Facts about Sharks: Terrors of the Ocean. 



Bioluminescent_dinoflagellates_2Source: http://mentalfloss.com

Sailors call bioluminescence in the ocean, “The Burning Sea.” If you get a glimpse at it, it’s easy to see why. However, the glowing blue of the ocean is created by tiny plankton that releases the same bioluminescence as fireflies.


Bimini Road

Bimini_islandSource: http://www.atlasobscura.com

Near Bimini Island, a discovery blew wide open of a man-made underground road called Bimini Road. Theories exploded about what it could mean. Could it be the location of Atlantis? However, after carbon dating, scientists discovered that it was made specifically by geological forces and not human.


Atlantis of Japan

Yonaguni_Ruins_ScubaSource: http://news.nationalgeographic.com

Similar to Bimini Road, Yonaguni is a major find near Japan that many think is their version of Atlantis. For Japan, it was an ancient civilization called Mu that vanished perhaps by a tsunami. Controversy surrounds Yonaguni with arguments for and against its man-made formation.


Steaming Black Sea

rocks-801840_640Source: http://coolinterestingstuff.com

Under unique circumstances when the sea air is cold and the sun burns hot, the Black Sea, among others, produces the phenomenon known as sea fog.


Julia Sound

Julia-unidentified-sound-spectrogramSource: http://www.livescience.com

Recorded in 1999, the Julia sound was picked up by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It lasts for 15 seconds and sounds like a eerie whining. Originally, scientists had no idea what this was but now believe it was an iceberg.


Baltic Sea Anomaly

Baltic_Sea_mapSource: http://www.express.co.uk

Since its discovery in 2012, the Baltic Sea Anomaly continues to mystify scientists and has produced many conspiracy theories about UFOs. And there’s a good reason why: the discovery at the bottom of the Baltic Sea looks a lot like the Millenium Falcon from Star Wars. At first glance, some believed it was formed by natural causes, but they ruled that out after inspecting the substance of the structure; the metals inside couldn’t have been formed naturally. Some scientists think that it’s a structure formed back in the ice age.


Pufferfish Crop Circle

1600px-PufferfishSource: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com

Local divers call these “underwater crop circles.” They are intricate designs in the ocean floor that look like a person drew shapes in the sand with a stick. What scientists uncovered was that these sand circles on the ocean floor were created by male pufferfish as a way to attract females.


Black Holes Underwater

The_Corryvreckan_Whirlpool_-_geograph-2404815-by-Walter-BaxterSource: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Black holes are vacuums in space that we cannot see and that nothing can escape from. Well, scientists have found a similar black hole in the ocean, an underwater whirlpool so tightly compacted that nothing in its area could escape it.



Pyrosoma_atlanticumSource: https://www.theatlantic.com

Pyrosomes are fascinating underwater creatures like no other. They clone themselves into thousands of individuals, creating one long strand that looks like a “wind sock.” Sometimes they can get up to 60-feet long. They’re bioluminescent, fluffy, and move elegantly through the water as one.


Milky Sea Effect

Milky seaSource: http://www.livescience.com

A bizarre thing occurred when so much blue glowed across the ocean that a satellite could see it from space. While scientists usually believe this is bioluminescent bacteria, some have been skeptical that so many could go off in such a large region of the ocean. Others have thrown out different guesses, it remains a mysterious phenomenon without any solid answers.


Rogue Waves


Rogue waves are uncommon but incredibly dangerous and unpredictable. They can happen on a dime and grow to a huge size that some sailors have called “walls of water.”


Frost Flowers

Frostflowers2Source: https://www.newscientist.com

Frost flowers are ice crystals commonly found in the Arctic and grow on sea ice and can also float all across the ocean water. Studies have shown these to be a significant source of sea salt and other chemicals that end up being released into the atmosphere.


Denmark Strait Underwater Waterfall

Norwegian_Sea_mapSource: http://www.cntraveler.com

Hearing “underwater waterfall” might seem like an impossibility, but in the Denmark Strait there is a phenomenon where cold water and hot water meet, creating an odd effect. Cold water is denser than warm water, and so it sinks straight down like Niagra falls. Of course, no one can really see this happening because, well, it’s all underwater.


Glass Squid

Cranchiidae_spSource: http://www.wild-facts.com

The glass squid is also called a “Cranchiidae,” but we like glass squid better. They have an organ that allows their body to become completely translucent to hide from predators, and they spend most of their time in sunlit shallow waters. Their shapes change significantly over their lifetime and can sometimes be confused for other species.



ice-curtain-16561_640Source: http://www.livescience.com

A brinicle is essentially an underwater icicle. It happens when salt heavy water leaks off of sea ice, sinking to the sea, creating tiny fingers of ice.


Green Flash

green flashSource: http://www.livescience.com

No, the Green Flash isn’t an aquatic superhero but an ocean phenomenon that occurs at sunset or sunrise. It happens when the sun’s rays hit the atmosphere at just the right moment, separating the colors and creating green. Of course, the green flash can be seen at any altitude and only lasts for a few seconds.

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9. Walter Baxter, The Corryvreckan Whirlpool – geograph-2404815-by-Walter-Baxter, CC BY-SA 2.0 , 8. Show_ryu, Pyrosoma atlanticum, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 7. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain) , 6. Pixabay.com (Public Domain) , 5. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain) , 4. NormanEinstein, Norwegian Sea map, Added red circle by Jason, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 3. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain) , 2. Pixabay.com (Public Domain) , 1. Mike Baird via flickr. CC BY 2.0