Hearst resident Makiya Sutherland captured a weather phenomenon known as a dust devil on Saturday, without knowing what it was that she had seen.
In a video that has gone viral since it was posted less than 24 hours ago, a tall stream is seen rising upward, seemingly hundreds of feet into the sky.
Sudbury.com reached out to the experts at Science North known as “Bluecoats” for a briefing on the science behind the weather wonder.
Amy Henson, a staff scientist at Science North, said the dust devil Sutherland captured was especially well-formed.
“Dust devils form when there is a large difference in heating from one area to another," Henson explained.
"So, for example, if you have a piece of asphalt and some grass, the air above the asphalt would heat up faster. Now, the air that is directly above that asphalt has become hotter than the air above it. At this point, the hotter air will begin to rise."
Henson said the hotter air works it's way up through the colder air above and almost "breaks a hole" through it, creating a rising column of air.
"If the conditions are just right, that air begins to rotate," she said.
As the air continues to rotate, the winds can speed it up. The result, a dust devil.
Dust devils can reach speeds up to 80 km/h, Henson said.