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Rare weather event at the Grand Canyon creates incredible sights

The canyon filled up with freezing fog because of a ‘temperature inversion’.


THE GRAND CANYON always looks pretty spectacular but, over the weekend, it was even more breathtaking that usual.

In an extremely rare sequence of events, the area saw two temperature inversions in just three days – a weather phenomenon that fills the canyon with freezing fog and normally only happens every 10 years.

According to photographer Erin Whittaker, who posted photos to the Grand Canyon National Park’s Facebook page, freezing fog dominated yesterday and is reflected in great patterns on the Kaibab Limestone shown on the image above.

“By the end of the day the sun was able to burn it all away no doubt making many first time visitors very happy. What will tomorrow bring?” she asks.

Temperature inversion happens once or twice a year but the entire canyon only fills up about once a decade on a cloudless day.


“These needle-less branches slowly succumbed to hours of freezing fog to grow these ribbon-like icy but temporary features,” continued Whittaker. “Once the sun finally burns off the fog so too goes this delicate scene.”


The first photo published on Friday offered an explanation of what exactly was happening: “We are currently experiencing an after Thanksgiving treat. No, it’s not more pumpkin pie. It’s a once in a lifetime, outstanding, crazy, amazing, mind blowing inversion. Enjoy.”


“Much better than Black Friday! Here’s what Mather Point looked like this morning with the rare inversion. Rangers wait for years to see it. Word spread like wildfire and most ran to the rim to photograph it. What a fantastic treat for all,” concluded Whittaker.

All images: Grand Canyon National Park

See more at the Grand Canyon National Park’s Facebook page>

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