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Mushroom Clouds



We all know the standard shape of a mushroom cloud

It looks something like this:


The question is why do they look like this?

Well, as can be seen in this post, the less in-depth answer is a simple difference in density between the rapidly expanding gases and the rest of the air.

However, this is a physics blog after all, and so I'm going to get into the Rayleigh-Taylor instability. In the most understandable terms (though to be quite honest after reading up on it I still don't really understand it), one fluid accelerates into another of a different density and convection magic and PHYSICS happen and things like supernovae and mushroom clouds happen.

I don't really get fluids. Gizmodo explains it better than me. But it's pretty cool. Woo.


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