Ghostly apparition of entire city appears over Chinese river... but is it just a mirage?
Residents in a Chinese city have been stunned after a giant mirage of a 'ghost city' towered across the skyline.
The apparition appeared earlier this month after heavy rainfall and humid conditions along the Xin'an River in Huanshan City in East China.
Tall buildings, mountains and trees appeared to rise up through the ghostly mist that had descended over the river at dusk. There is usually nothing buy sky across the horizon.
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Haunting: The apparition of buildings and trees rises above the Xin'an River in Huanshan City in East China after heavy rainfall. The skyline above the river is usually clear
Mirage: An entire island with trees, tall buildings and mountains in the distance can be seen in the dusk light in the Chinese city where hours before it was only an expanse of water
Amazed residents recorded the footage with some even suggesting that it could have been a 'vortex' to a lost civilisation.
The pictures have baffled experts who visited the city to check that there were not actually any of the building already there.
It is believed that the sight may have been a mirage - a form of illusion that is common in in humid weather.
The phenomenon is caused when moisture in the air becomes warmer than the temperature of water below.
As the rays of sunlight cross from the colder air into the warmer air it is 'bent' or refracted - creating a reflection in the air.
The patterns in the mirage are typically blurred and shimmering with a resemblance to human structures. They are similar to a reflection seen in water.
Although they happen occasionally, the mirage in China is believed to be one of the clearest ever recorded.
Shimmering: The apparent mirage shows the detailed outlines of buildings that experts may have been reflected from the surrounding city
Ghostly: High-rise office blocks and flats were seen by residents who said the mirage was the most spectacular of a recent crop that have hit the region
'It's really amazing, it looks like a scene in a movie, in a fairlyland,' said one resident.
She said that a number of similar sights had been seen recently although this one was the most spectacular.
A number of mirages have previous been reported in China. In 2006, English-language paper China Daily published four images of what it said were mirages off the coast of Eastern China's Shandong province.