Skirt Clouds Associated with the Soufriere Eruption of 17 April 1979

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Science  04 Jun 1982:
Vol. 216, Issue 4550, pp. 1111-1112
DOI: 10.1126/science.216.4550.1111


A fortuitous and dramatic photograph of the Soufriere eruption column of 17 April 1979 displays a series of highly structured skirt clouds. The gentle distortion of thin, quasi-horizontal layers of moist air has been documented in meteorological situations. It is proposed that at St. Vincent subhorizontal layers of moist air were intensely deformed by the rapidly rising eruption column and were carried to higher altitudes, where they condensed to form the skirt clouds.