Engels shared the image online, hoping to get an explanation. The photograph initially stumped locals – including a friend who specializes in ice geomorphology.
The image soon went viral and Engels learned that the mysterious iceberg was really a mirage.
She was actually viewing the Cheam mountain range on the mainland of British Columbia, nearly 200km (124 miles) away – and beyond the horizon from where Engels was standing.
The illusion was caused by what is known as a “superior mirage” which is caused during a temperature inversion, when a band of warm air rests on a layer of cold air, bending light rays downwards.
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Light from the setting sun was reflecting off the range and bending down, placing the range on the horizon. At a distance, the snow-covered peaks looked eerily similar to a towering iceberg.
Engels has seen previous mirages in the area, but nothing as crisp and stable as the mountain range that January evening.
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