© Twitter/@TiffanyBJenks

A rare 'fire rainbow' has been sighted in the sky over South Carolina, dazzling viewers for about an hour before fading away.

The display, known as circumhorizontal arcs, occurs when light hits tiny ice crystals in high-level cirrus clouds. The photo was taken by Tiffany B Jenks and posted on Twitter.

Despite the popular name of 'fire rainbow', it has nothing to do with fire. It is the lower part of a large halo of the sun and runs parallel to the horizon.

It only occurs when the sun is high in the sky - above 58 degrees. The display was seen in the skies over Isle of Palms in South Carolina.

The unusual natural phenomena inspired onlookers, with channel 14 News quoting one woman as saying the display reminded her of a dear friend. "I'm sure she came to visit us on the beach we all love!" said Tracey Smith.