22/12/2016 5:52 AM AEDT | Updated 22/12/2016 6:38 AM AEDT

Photos Capture Snow In Sahara Desert For First Time In 37 Years

Geoff Robinson Photography/REX/Shutterstock
 Snow in the Sahara Desert near the town of Ain Sefra, Algeria Snow in the Sahara Desert, Ain Sefra.

This is not a mirage.

On Dec. 19, snow fell on the red dunes of the Sahara Desert for the first time in nearly 40 years.

Karim Bouchetata, an amateur photographer, captured photos of the rare event in his Saharan desert town of Ain Sefra, Algeria.

Geoff Robinson Photography/REX/Shutterstock

“Everyone was stunned to see snow falling in the desert; it is such a rare occurrence,” Bouchetata told The Independent.

“It looked amazing as the snow settled on the sand and made a great set of photos. The snow stayed for about a day and has now melted away.”

The last time flakes fell in Ain Sefra, a town known as “the gateway to the desert,” was 1979.

Geoff Robinson Photography/REX/Shutterstock

The Sahara Desert is considered the largest hot desert in the world, spanning 3.5 million square miles and engulfing most of northern Africa. It’s also incredibly dry and hot.

Half of the desert receives less than an inch of rain per year while the rest receives up to just 4 inches. Daytime temperatures can also reach 136 °F — and there’s nothing chill about that.