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It's OK, Mount Rainier isn't erupting, says National Park Service

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State
(Image credit: Getty)

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 (opens in new tab) shows what looks like steam or gas seeping from the top of the mountain.

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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.

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As the UK Meteorological Office (opens in new tab) 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.

Cat Ellis
Editor

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).