Venezualian social media was full of impressive pictures of this unusual iridescent and menacing anvil cloud formation travelling over the city of Maracaibo on September 25, 2017.
Otherwise known as thunderclouds, cumulonimbus are the only cloud type that can produce hail, thunder and lighting, the cloud formations are understood to have come about as a result of thunderstorms rolling across the area.
The striking Cumulonimbus thunderstorm anvil cloud led residents to compare it to a nuclear explosion or an alien spaceship.
The thundercloud scared residents around Maracaibo, Venezuela and led to a temporary drastic drop in temperature.
The fact that this formation was standing out on its own, made for the spectacular imagery flooding Twitter and Facebook.
This huge thunderstorm bubbling up on the horizon, smacking the top of the atmosphere and spreading out like a giant umbrella is one of the most amazing sights in nature.
They get their anvil shape from the fact that the rising air in thunderstorms expands and spreads out as the air bumps up against the bottom of the stratosphere, where the air is warmer.
The vast majority of thunderstorms aren’t strong enough to reach the top of the atmosphere, but when they do, the results are phenomenal:
A thick ceiling of cirrusclouds – sometimes iridescent – extending out and away from the hulking cumulonimbus cloud.