One can imagine having a tsunami rushing towards you being a shit-your-pants-scary experience. Luckily, this one was just an incredible optical illusion.

A photographer in the US has captured shots of a rare 'ghost snow tsunami' - a mirage which happens when snow, sunlight and wind line up perfectly on the horizon.

The end result makes the swirling snow look like a set of ghostly waves crashing against a shore - waves that might even put your life at risk.

Credit: StoryTrender

Ariel McGlothlin, the photographer who snapped the photos in Kelly, Wyoming, described the 'tsunami' as so awe-inspiring she actually half felt the need to run away from it. Can't say I blame her really.

"It was a pretty amazing experience," said Ariel, a 30-year-old who is originally from the state of Pennsylvania.

"The appearance of a rolling and crashing wave was so convincing in its appearance, I really thought it was coming towards me - I kept thinking that I needed to flee.

"I have never experienced anything like this before. This is the only time I've personally experienced all the conditions lining up to create this appearance."

Credit: StoryTrender

Ariel had originally planned to head out to snap some local wildlife before she stumbled upon the strange phenomenon.

The mirage was caused by the snowflakes moving in the wind while they caught just the right angle from the sun behind them. Pretty amazing, right?

According to Ariel, the display only lasted for a few minutes as the almost see-through waves appeared to flow towards her.

The apparition eventually disappeared before Ariel's very eyes as the sun continued on its course and the wind changed direction.

"I watched it for about 15 minutes or so until the angle of the light changed and the whole phenomenon just disappeared," she explained.

Credit: StoryTrender

Ariel acknowledged her good fortune to catch the moment when she did and admitted that what she witnessed may have been a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.

Lucky for her, and for us, that she caught the whole thing on camera.

'"In hindsight, I feel very lucky to have seen this and don't know if I'll ever be lucky enough to be in exactly the right place at the right time every again," Ariel said. "It was a very special experience."

Ariel's 'ghost snow tsunami' is probably the closest to a normal tsunami she's ever likely to see.

That's probably for the best really. Otherwise, she'd just have been glad to have made it out alive.

Featured Image Credit: Credit: StoryTrender

Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing before completing his NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism. Chris has previously written for the independent culture magazine The Skinny, among other publications.

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