A beautiful and somewhat rare phenomenon has graced the Grand Canyon for the second time this winter.
A sea of fog filled the canyon on Thursday, flowing through the rock formations that tower above the Colorado River. Battleship Rock on the South Rim (seen below) “truly looked like a ship today, cutting through the waves,” said the Interior Department.
Today, visitors to the #GrandCanyon National Park (@grandcanyonnps) in #Arizona got to see this stunning sight. This #weather phenomenon is called a total cloud inversion, and it happens when the air near the ground is cooler than the air above it, creating a sea of clouds. While typically a rare event, this is the second cloud inversion at the Grand Canyon in six weeks. Pictured here is the #SouthRim's "Battleship," which truly looked like a ship today, cutting through the waves. Photo by M. Quinn, #NationalPark Service.
The fog is formed by a total cloud inversion, which occurs when cold air is trapped in the canyon and topped by a layer of warm air. If the moisture in the cold pool is sufficient, condensation will occur and fog will form.
“While typically a rare event, this is the second cloud inversion at the Grand Canyon in six weeks,” said the Interior Department.
These total inversions are actually a rare event, according to the National Weather Service, who says that the phenomenon typically happens just once every several years. The previous total cloud inversion was in mid-December.