After reading the novel, Fata Morgana by William Kotzwinkle, I was still curious about the phenomenon called a Fata Morgana. A little time on the internet and especially on YouTube gave me a clear understanding but still left me with a boat-load of wonder and amazement.
As a kid in Arizona, any trip down the old desert roads that rose and dipped across the arroyos puddled all the standing water of the dry desert on the road ahead of us in the form of mirages: Fata Morgana. It had something to do with heat waves rising, the curvature of the earth, and the reflective properties of tarmacadam.
I found this classic example of a Fata Morgana: