Superior Mirage of Green Mountains
January 05, 2004
On a recent backpack trip to the Adirondack High Peaks in upstate New York, a few of my students and I were treated to a spectacular and long lasting superior mirage wherein the Green Mountains of Vermont were raised above their normal position on the horizon, and their tops apparently "reflected" off a warm layer of air just above our heads. As we looked eastward from the top of Big Slide Mountain, tall "buttes and mesas" would rise from the mountaintops (see left side of top photo), forming anvil tops that sometimes persisted for several minutes before fading or thickening into large mounds on the horizon. These two photos, taken about 20 minutes apart, reveal the changing appearance of the horizon that afternoon. Under a dome of high pressure, the air was remarkably still and quite clearly stratified -- note the haze on the right side of the panoramic photo at the link to "More Photos from Big Slide" below. The Green Mountain mirage appears on the left side of the panorama, floating above the nearer Adirondack skyline.