Earlier today, an alarming video surfaced that seemed to show that Mount Rainier was erupting, however, the national park has clarified that there’s no reason to panic.
The video originated on Twitter when a Mount Rainier National Park visitor posted a clip of an ominous puff of white smoke gathering around the peak, and some folks began to believe that the active stratovolcano was “venting,” or emitting volcanic material and gases into the air.
Once the clip hit local news circuits, the public looked to the national park staff to either confirm or deny the volcano’s activity.
Take a look below.
Suspicious as the clip was, Mount Rainier National Park was quick to quiet the suspicions that the volcano had begun erupting.
Also on Twitter, the park announced, “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.”
Additionally, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) included another photo of the so-called “smoke” from the actual mountain, demonstrating that it was clearly a cloud and not the result of any volcanic activity.
You can find this photo here.
Mount Rainier National Park ‘Venting’ Is Actually Just an Odd Cloud Formation
Lenticular clouds typically occur when a strong gust of wind hits the side of a mountain, creating an obstacle in the airstream. As a result, a thin, parallel cloud forms, and in the right light, it can look like the start of a natural disaster. Other times, folks have claimed that these clouds resemble strange, UFO-like saucers.
According to the USGS, lenticular clouds are actually quite common in Mount Rainier National Park.
“Mount Rainier is not erupting – the sort of behavior seen in this video is not unusual,” the USGS confirmed. “And in fact there are a number of USGS volcanologists at the volcano this week working on installing new monitoring equipment, so Cascades Volcano Observatory folks are on site to confirm!”
As unexciting as this news is, it at least means that there’s no dangerous activity happening in the Washington-based national park. Still, though, it seems that both park staff and the USGS have had to be diligent in dissuading the public that the cloud was not, in fact, smoke – so much so that one parkgoer even suggested making a drinking game out of the news.
“Me sitting here wondering how many times @USGSVolcanoes has to say this is a cloud formation. And should I make it a drinking game while reading these tweets,” the user cheekily wrote.
Thankfully, the USGS also saw the humor in the situation.
The organization was quick to quip back, “We would not recommend that. Alcohol poisoning would definitely be a possibility.”