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Giant Anvil-Shaped Cloud Hovering 75,000ft Above Earth

The giant anvil-shaped cloud hovering 75,000ft above Earth is photographed by Space Station astronauts

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 8:11 AM on 30th July 2009

A giant, anvil-shaped cloud bubbles up towards the Earth’s stratosphere, looming over West Africa.

The amazing formation would be invisible to anyone on the ground and would even be obscure from a regular passenger jet since they can reach up to 75,000ft.

But astronauts captured the astonishing picture from hundreds of miles up as they orbited the globe on the International Space Station.

Anvil clouds are formed mostly from ice and normally form in the upper parts of thunderstorms. They get their shape from the fact that rising warm air in thunderstorms expands and spreads out as the air bumps up against the bottom of the stratosphere.

Streaks of snow are often seen falling out of the edges of anvils. This light snow usually evaporates as it falls through the relatively dry air surrounding the upper part of the thunderstorm.

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