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Dust devil whips up Chichen Itza a day after Spring Equinox

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A dust devil hits Chichen Itza, but causes no damage or injuries. Photo: Contributed

A day after tourists came to Yucatan to see a “serpent” climb down a temple’s steps, a different natural phenomenon wowed tourists.

A dramatic, mysterious whirlwind hit an open area near the same pyramid Friday afternoon, startling amazed onlookers at the archaeological site.

The narrow dust devil, reaching up into the sky, kicked up dirt but caused no injuries or damage. A video of the incident was shared on social networks.

“Kukulkan is mad,” said one witness, referring to the Mayan serpent deity for whom the temple is named.

Because of its narrowness it seemed harmless, but its height was impressive to onlookers.

Dozens of tourists, whose reactions ranged between surprised and fearful, kept a prudent distance but some took advantage to capture the moment in photos or video.

Just 24 hours earlier, thousands of tourists packed the grounds as the sun’s angle created an illusion of a serpent slithering down a pyramid’s steps. The effect happens twice a year, during both the spring and fall equinox.

Dust devils form on hot, sunny days when some parts of the ground heat faster than others. Air begins to rise over the hot spot, and nearby cooler air begins to spiral in, forming an updraft.

The whirlwinds range from 10 to 100 feet wide and winds can approach 80 miles per hour.


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