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What Caused This Surreal Sunrise in New Mexico?

A recent New Mexico sunrise appeared as a surreal confluence of arcs, flares, halos, and rainbows, bearing little resemblance to familiar daybreak scenes in region. The video above explains the strange phenomena, courtesy of the National Weather Service.

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This area in New Mexico owes its remarkable geology to layers of volcanic rock and ash deposited by pyroclastic flow from a volcanic explosion. Over time weathering and erosion of these layers has created canyons and tent rocks. The tent rocks themselves are cones of soft pumice and tuff beneath harder caprocks, and vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet.

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Sunset after the rain (Los Alamos, New Mexico) by Raven Mountain Images | Phillip & Monica Noll / 500px

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