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1-min read

Happiness Comes in Waves: Rare Formation of Cloud Covers Netizens' Attention

Clouds in such a formation are called Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds. Usually, they do not appear as clear and bright such as in this photo.

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Updated:June 21, 2019, 5:04 PM IST
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Happiness Comes in Waves: Rare Formation of Cloud Covers Netizens' Attention
Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds make for a breathtaking site in Virginia, US | Image credit: Facebook
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Netizens are gushing about a rare cloud formation spotted hovering above a lushgreen landscape in Virginia, United States this week.

“Very cool clouds rolling over the mountain tops at Smith Mountain Lake this evening. They are called Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds. I sent the photo to our local news station and the meteorologist replied to me saying they are very rare and usually not this defined,” Facebook user Amy Christie Hunter captioned the stunning picture taken by her.

Hunter’s post was liked and shared by over 1200 times while many commented on the sheer beauty of the rare cloud formation.

“Thank you for sharing- I have driven thru that area for over 35 years and never saw a cloud formation like thus! Beautiful,” one comment read.

“Absolutely gorgeous capture, and so very reminiscent of Hokusai's Great Wave,” said another.

Kelvin-Helmholtz instability clouds form from variation in air density between adjacent layers and the resulting difference in wind speeds known as shear, according to The Washington Post.

“These clouds are extremely short-lived, and they break in the same fashion as a wave on a shore — as the bottom layer moves slower than the top layer, and the top billows over and crashes,” the publication reports.

Generally, they last around 10 minutes and are most common near mountain ranges because of the “stratified air above them, but they can form anywhere and show off the fluid nature of the atmosphere.”

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