Watch the Grand Canyon Fill Up With Pea Soup–Thick Fog

The unusual weather phenomenon reminds us just how majestic national parks can be.
Jan 30, 2015·
Taylor Hill is an associate editor at TakePart covering environment and wildlife.

The Grand Canyon looked like a giant bowl filled with pea soup–thick fog, thanks to a rare weather phenomenon that unfolded on Wednesday.

In the video, we see in a one-minute time-lapse the incredible cloud formations that took a half hour in real time to unfold.

The uncommon weather event is due to temperature inversion, in which a layer of cold air is trapped in the canyon and topped by a layer of warmer air. If there is enough moisture in the air, a heavy fog forms in the canyon. If there’s no wind, it will stay there.

It’s the second time this winter that the unusual event has taken place. National Park Service officials said cloud inversions like this usually only happen once every few years.

But the phenomenon gives national park lovers another reason to tout the splendor, beauty, and unique characteristics of places worth preserving, during a time when congressional Republicans are working to pass a bill that would prevent presidents from designating public lands as national monuments.

Many of America’s national parks started out as national monuments, including the Grand Canyon—which Theodore Roosevelt protected in 1908. President Obama alone has designated 13 sites as national monuments since taking office, including 346,000 square acres of Los Angeles County’s San Gabriel Mountains.