'Diamond dust' spotted in central Japan mountain town

A glittering winter phenomenon known as "diamond dust" has been observed in freezing temperatures in a town in Gifu Prefecture, central Japan.

The phenomenon occurs when subzero temperatures cause water vapor in the air to freeze and sparkle in the sunlight. It often occurs when temperatures plunge to below minus 10 degrees Celsius overnight, and there are few clouds and only gentle winds.

Twinkling particles of "diamond dust" were seen flying over a snow-covered river shortly after sunrise on Thursday in a mountain district of Takayama City. Frost also formed on the branches of trees by the river.

Temperatures had fallen to minus 16.8 degrees Celsius before dawn in the area.
Several people braved the chill to take pictures of the phenomenon.

A local man in his 60s said the sparkling particles were fantastically beautiful. He said he was shivering while he was waiting for the "diamond dust" to appear, but he forgot all about the cold weather when he started taking photos.