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Accidental Discoveries

27 January 201501:42AMjapan-2015travel

We were doing a bit of back-country skiing, and I happened to have my phone out when I spotted this guy.

pop a cap in your cloud

This is a pretty cool example of a cap cloud forming over Mount Yōtei. Cap clouds form when there's a layer of warmer, moister air that is forced upwards by the slope of the mountain. Where it starts to collide with the cooler air at the top, the moisture condenses out and a cloud forms. The nifty thing is that while the cloud looks like it's stationary over the top of the mountain, the layer of air from which it's forming is actually still moving. Like... hmm, like a Mexican wave staying in one spot while everyone keeps running forward. How's that for an analogy?

Sometimes you see really dramatic examples where there's just a single solitary cap on a lone mountain, but in this case you can see a sort of trail behind it, which I would guess would tell you which direction the wind is moving.

Because Mount Yōtei is an (apparently active) volcano, there's another type of cap cloud that could potentially form over it from the ash plume and associated pyrocumulus clouds that come with a volcanic eruption. They form for a similar reason, only the layer of air is being pushed up all at once by a jet of hot, deadly volcanic gas. Unfortunately (or possibly fortunately), Yōtei is unlikely to erupt while we're here.

And now director, if you will pan down and to the right, we'll have a look at the reason I happened to have my phone out.

nice stack there.

Which just goes to show that even the best of us stack it sometimes, and that's not always a bad thing.

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