Arenal and Cap Cloud

June 08, 2009


Photographer: Giordano J. Cervera
Summary Author: Giordano J. Cervera

The enchanting photo above showing Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica was taken on June 29, 2008 at 8:44 a.m. (local time). Just after waking up, I was astonishing to see this cap cloud cloaking the "Great Lava Thrower." It looked as though it fit perfectly atop Arenal’s distinctive conical summit. Cap clouds are nearly stationary clouds that appear fixed to isolated mountain peaks. This type of orographic cloud typically forms when moist air, forced upwards over elevated terrain, cools and condenses. Arenal stands at 5,358 feet (1,633 meters) above sea level, approximately 56 mi (90 km) northwest of Costa Rica’s capital city of San Jose. Its last major eruption occurred in 2000.