The National Park Service has reassured visitors to Mount Rainier National Park (and residents living nearby) that the mountain isn't about to erupt. Hikers and locals became worried after pictures appeared on social media seeming to show a cloud of smoke, steam, or volcanic gas hovering over Rainier's peak. The mountain is an active volcano, so it wasn't beyond the real of possibility that a new fissure might have appeared.
A video shared on Twitter by meteorologist Kristin Clark shows what looks like steam or gas seeping from the top of the mountain.
Mt. Rainier appears to be venting. 🗻 @komonews currently has a call in with @MountRainierNPS to confirm. Stay tuned. #wawx #komonews pic.twitter.com/ln6TqZ4hlSSeptember 7, 2022
However, experts from the NPS analyzed images from several webcams and determined that it was in fact a lenticular cloud, and no cause for concern.
Mount Rainier is NOT erupting. We have looked at the cloud that has caused concern from multiple webcams and have determined that it is a lenticular cloud. In addition, the USGS reports no indications of unusual seismic activity. ~pwSeptember 7, 2022
As the UK Meteorological Office explains, a lenticular cloud is a lens-shaped cloud wave that forms when the air is stable, and winds blow across hills and mountains at different heights through the lower layers of the Earth's atmosphere. The rising motion of the air as it moves across the higher land can cause water vapor to condense into a cloud.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).