The Seven Most Stunning Cloud Formations

Published September 19, 2013
Updated August 1, 2019

Inspiring scientists and artists alike, these staggering cloud formations are guaranteed to blow your mind.

At their most basic level, clouds are no more than condensed water and/or ice. These fluffy white substances are created when warm air rises, cools, then condenses onto dust particles in the air, forming tiny droplets around each particle. As more and more particles attach together, a cloud forms.

Scientists primarily classify clouds by their altitude, shape and process of creation. Though there are four main cloud categories, cloud formations can be further broken down and described by more specific names, which are derived from Latin terms that describe their qualities.

Incredible Cloud Formations: Lenticular Clouds

Lenticular Clouds

Source: BBC

Lenticular Cloud Over Mt. Ranier

Source: Napifalat

Lenticular clouds form at high altitudes, and are usually perpendicular to the wind. As evident in the following pictures, it is common for these clouds to form directly above or near mountains, as landforms create optimal air conditions for lenticular clouds. Lenticular clouds have a circular, lens-like shape that has prompted many false UFO sightings.

Lenticular Cloud

Source: Bored Panda

Mammatus Clouds

Mammatus Clouds

Source: WordPress

Mammatus clouds are quite possibly the most incredible, bizarre cloud formation in the world. Often forming on the underside of a thunderstorm’s anvil, they have a unique, often ominous, pouch-like shape. Mammatus clouds are also called mammatocumulus, meaning “mammary” or “breast” clouds.

Mammatus Clouds Over Farm

Source: 500PX

Mammatus Hanoi

Source: Fotopedia

Kiri Picone
Kiri Picone holds a B.A. in English and creative writing from Pepperdine University and has been writing for various digital publishers for more than 10 years.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Picone, Kiri. "The Seven Most Stunning Cloud Formations.", September 19, 2013, Accessed May 18, 2024.