People in Ukraine's capital Kiev got frightened after they witnessed a giant mushroom-shaped cloud, which triggered panic of a nuclear blast. However, authorities later allayed their fears by informing that it was a naturally-occurring phenomenon.
The mushroom-shaped cloud was spotted just 60 miles from Chernobyl, where the world’s worst nuclear disaster took place in 1968. The Chernobyl disaster caused around 100 deaths and it is believed that the lives of many were cut short as a result of the long-term effects of excess radiation exposure.
The locals put out the pictures of the event on social media, before officials explained the phenomenon. Ukrainian State Emergency Service also shared pictures of the cloud with a caption, ‘Admit it, who got scared?’
The rare formation is known as anvil cloud. The officials said that they have seen such clouds before above Kiev Oblast, Ternopil Oblast and Vinnitsa.
The scientific name of the anvil cloud is cumulonimbus incus and it is formed when strong air currents carry water vapour upwards. The dense cloud generated in this process stabilises in the stratosphere, reported metro.co.uk.
Most of the time, the formation is asymmetrical due to which the clouds get anvil-like appearance. But, in some cases, the clouds form symmetrically, looking more like a mushroom.
Such clouds have the ability to produce lightning and they can even cause severe weather events such as tornadoes and hailstones. Before dissipating, they typically stay in place regardless of how strong the wind is.
On the other hand, nuclear mushroom clouds get dispersed by winds after about an hour.