HomeOutdoorsNewsPHOTOS: Mesmerizing Wave-Shaped Clouds Stun Residents Near the Rocky Mountains

PHOTOS: Mesmerizing Wave-Shaped Clouds Stun Residents Near the Rocky Mountains

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by: Don & Melinda Crawford/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

In this series of stunning photos, these wave-shaped clouds absolutely stun residents living near the Rocky Mountains. Photos were captured near the town of Sheridan, Wyoming.

These are Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds, and as WSB-TV Atlanta chief meteorologist Brad Nitz explains, they are caused by velocity shear in the atmosphere. This means the faster wind is higher and the slower wind is located lower.

“This may be the best example I’ve ever seen,” he writes in his caption to the post. “Time to update the textbooks with this picture!”

You can view the stunning photo of these wave-shaped clouds below.

“An ocean in the sky…gotta love #nature,” one person wrote.

Another photo of the incredible phenomenon can be viewed here. “Incredible display of Kelvin–Helmholtz clouds over Sheridan, Wyoming yesterday! Photo by Diane Boice. So amazing!!” meteorologist Kaitlin Wright writes on Twitter.

Many people online couldn’t believe the beautiful arrangement of clouds, asking if the images were authentic. “For real?!” one user wrote. “Nice view,” another chimed in.

The atmospheric event is called the Kelvin–Helmholtz instability (after Lord Kelvin and Hermann von Helmholtz). It’s a fluid instability that occurs when there is velocity shear in a single continuous fluid or a velocity difference across the interface between two fluids.

Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities can be seen in the atmospheres of planets and moons. They can be visible in cloud formations on Earth or even the Red Spot on Jupiter. Moreover, they’ll be seen in the atmospheres of the Sun and other stars.

Wave-Shaped Clouds Stun Viewers Online

Wyoming is known for its bountiful natural beauty, and the wave-shaped clouds in Sheridan prove no different.

Sheridan, Wyoming is located halfway between Yellowstone Park and Mount Rushmore by U.S. Route 14 and 16.

It is the principal city of Sheridan County with a population of 17,444. The Sheridan, Wyoming, Micropolitan Statistical Area sits at a total of 29,116 people.

The town gets its name from General Philip Sheridan, a Union cavalry leader of the American Civil War.

The city was named after General Philip Sheridan, a Union cavalry leader in the American Civil War. Several battles between US Cavalry and the Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Shoshone, and Crow Indian tribes occurred in the area in the 1860s and 1870s before the construction of the town.

In 1878, a fur trapper named George Mandel built a cabin on Big Goose Creek. The cabin, reconstructed, now sits in the Whitney Commons park near the Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library.

Jack Dow then surveyed the townsite for Sheridan in 1882 at John Loucks’ request. Loucks served as the first mayor of the town, and he’d served under Gen. Sheridan.

Sheridan maintains a strong rodeo culture, earned from its ranching history. The rodeo culture also stems from the town’s history of courting the wild-west tourists. The Sheridan WYO Rodeo was then established in 1931 to provide local entertainment and economic development. Since the PK Ranch Rodeos in 1928 and 1929 had been successful, they were confident in the new launch.

It was a professional rodeo from the beginning, but the Second World War paused the event. It then returned as a working cowboy rodeo in 1944 with a new name, the Bots Sots Stampede. However in 1951, it resumed as the Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo. Then, it became a professional rodeo again in 1966.