Samantha Busch had her boyfriend take the photo that appears like she’s clutching desperately to the cliff-edge of the Grand Canyon.
In fact she was standing on a ledge that’s hidden from the camera lens.
The 22-year-old uploaded the photo on social networking site Reddit saying: “Mom was worried about my trip to the Grand Canyon, I sent her this picture."
The photo sparked thousands of comments and inspired others to post similar spoof pictures.
Busch told ABC News her mother had been panicking before her trip to the famous natural landmark because “people are dumb, they fall off, the wind blows them over the edge”.
“So when while I was there, I found a cool little spot that I could sneak into, and lean back and look like I am falling off, and I thought that would be a great picture to send back home to my parents, who were worried about me.”
Her mother Rebecca Busch told ABC her heart dropped when she saw the photo and it was a massive relief to learn it had been staged.