Forests are often dubbed the lung’s of the Earth. But as beautiful as that metaphor is, trees don’t actually breathe in the common sense of the word – or do they?
A creepy new video has captured a dense forest in Quebec rising and falling as if a giant monster were snoring under its mossy surface.
“The ground looks like it’s breathing in this Quebec forest,” wrote Daniel Holland, sharing a video of the phenomenon on Twitter.
The ground looks like it’s breathing in this Quebec forest. pic.twitter.com/AeETAYJOdN
— Daniel Holland (@DannyDutch) October 20, 2018
This eerie footage of a ‘heaving’ forest has shocked many on social media, where it is currently making the rounds.
Some have suggested that it’s a giant turtle, hiding underground like the one from The Neverending Story.
Others have drawn eerie parallels to the mutating landscapes of Annihilation.
But the mysterious force behind this video is not some magical event or a spooky Halloween affair. Nor is it an earthquake or the work of an online video trickster.
The reality is far less sensational.
If you can tear your eyes away from the undulating moss and rock for just a moment, you’ll notice a clue in the distance.
“When you look at the trees in the background, it’s clear that the winds were very strong,” Mark Sirois of the Southern Quebec Severe Weather Network told Time.
That’s right. The ‘breathing’ that is shown in this video has nothing to do with respiration and everything to do with the weather.
It seems crazy that wind alone can lift a huge chunk of forest floor and all its surrounding rocks and trees. But when the elements align, this meteorological phenomenon is not as impossible as one might think.
In fact, the Weather Network says they have received several videos of this sort over the years from confused locals.
When the ground is loose enough and the wind sufficiently strong, it can cause trees to sway back and forth, pulling at their web of roots and loosening the surrounding soil.
This is what makes the ground appear to “breathe” with life.
“During a rain and windstorm event the ground becomes saturated, ‘loosening’ the soil’s cohesion with the roots as the wind is blowing on a tree’s crown,” Mark Vanderwouw, a certified arborist at Shady Lane Expert Tree Care in Newmarket, Ontario, explained to The Weather Network in 2012.
“The wind is trying to ‘push’ the trees over, and as the force is transferred to the roots, the ground begins to ‘heave’.
“If the winds were strong enough and lasted long enough more roots would start to break and eventually some of the trees would topple.”
For now, it seems that the trees have won this epic battle of the elements.