Cloud games at the Grand Canyon

Last Thursday an uncommon event occurred at the Grand Canyon — a total cloud inversion. Temperature inversions occur in many places across the US, but when they happen at the Grand Canyon, the canyon fills with clouds. Inversions happen several times a year in the canyon, usually in the winter. This time, however, in addition to the usual photos, Park Service staff member Michael Quinn caught 15 minutes of the event on a one-minute time-lapse video. If you prefer, enjoy it with music added. I opted for the silent view, the way clouds usually present themselves. Like fog, they slip in on little cat feet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF8LUy1LJjs

 

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View from the canyon’s South Rim last Thursday. (Maci MacPherson / National Park Service)

 

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View from the South Rim on Sept. 6, 2013. The canyon is about a mile deep. (Alexandra Schuler/DPA /LANDOV)

 

12 thoughts on “Cloud games at the Grand Canyon

  1. Once, on a flight to Las Vegas, the pilot descended a bit and flew us right over the Grand Canyon, the entire thing, from east to west. It is magnificent, enormous, and awesome when seen from above. I think we only were about 10,000 feet above. No extra charge, either, so I feel compelled to include a plug here for Southwest Airlines.

  2. In 2008 when we came to the US for my youngest daughters 30th birthday when we were in Las Vegas my two daughters and one son in law decided that they’d go off to the Grand Canyon for a day, I declined going; I’ve kicked myself ever since. What a wasted opportunity for an experience of a lifetime. :/

    1. That’s a shame. I’m as close now as I’ve ever been, but it would still be quite an expedition to get down there and back, not to mention the several days I’d want to spend exploring the area and seeing all the highlights. I’m not one to run down there, peek over the edge once, and call it good. I don’t want to just see it; I want to experience it.

    1. Didn’t take me long, though, to start thinking, “Okay, that’s probably just a layer of clouds. It may “fill” the canyon side to side, but I’ll bet not top to bottom … ” Hate when that happens and spoils the moment.

  3. I’ve never been to the South Rim. The North Rim a few times. Now that I don’t live that far, I really should go…. I have not excuse not to. It’s just, our parks are so commercialized now. I know they need the money. And it’s not really that, either. It’s the disrespectful way that so many people treat our parks now. Like it’s an amusement park.

    1. That’s one of the reasons I haven’t gone. I don’t want to have to share the experience with all the disrespectful ignorant jerks. At least at Rocky I know where to go and how to avoid them.

  4. That first still image looks very much the way it looked on my one and only visit to the canyon back in January,1986 (just before the Challenger disaster). We weren’t there long enough to see if there was an ebb and flow to it as shown in the video, but I’m wondering if it was a similar type event?

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised, especially since that was in the winter. I have to wonder if I’d be pleased to see such an event or disappointed that I couldn’t see the canyon.

... and that's my two cents