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The Grand Canyon…A Sea of Clouds?

Hey everyone! First things first: Happy Holidays UIC!! Make the best of this break, take time to do something that makes you happy and relaxes you, you deserve it 🙂

So today I’m going to divert from Humans of UIC to talk about a rare weather phenomenon. But in any case, be sure to check out Humans of UIC on Facebook!

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Photo provided by the National Park Service

So, the Guardian and other Travel resources recently shared images of a rather unusual sight of the Grand Canyon. This phenomenon called the “Total Cloud Inversion” traps the clouds in the valleys and crests of the canyon and creates a sea-like illusion. This barely occurs about once every several years and this time, it happened on Thursday, December 11th. The Grand Canyon National Park service released photos and videos of this unique event.

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Photo provided by Grand Canyon National Park

For those of you who have had the opportunity to visit this beautiful landmark, y’all know that the treacherous valleys alone provide a beautiful view of the canyon. But for those valleys to be filled clouds, adds to the enigma and beauty of it. So why or how does this cloud inversion happen?

This phenomenon occurs when a warm layer of air is basically trapped by a cooler layer of air below. Due to heavy rains, cool air or fog was trapped beneath a warm layer on top. Apparently the fog builds up and sticks around overnight when there is no wind to disperse it. A few handful of lucky visitors had a chance to view this miracle (sorry, influenced by the holidays!) span across a 277-mile long canyon which was also about 6000 ft deep and 18-mile wide at its deepest and widest point. This essentially becomes a holding tank for all the trapped moisture. This moisture and clouds will take several days to die down. Here’s a video of what it looked like, which was also released by the Grand Canyon National Park Service.

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Looks like a sea of thick clouds!

So ladies and gentlemen, looks like miracles do happen!


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