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Why Do Nuclear Bombs Make Mushroom Clouds?

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 Physics   |   Science   |   Technology
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If you’ve ever put your feet up on a warm summer’s day and played “spot the shape in the cloud,” you might’ve seen a kangaroo, a guy preparing to facepalm, maybe a mushroom... On second thought, hopefully not that last one.

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Sources:
http://www.deepspace.ucsb.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Effects-of-Nuclear-Weapons-1977-3rd-edition-complete.pdf

Mushroom clouds forming over volcanoes and forest fires: http://www.theguardian.com/news/2012/jul/13/weatherwatch-clouds-atomic-mushroom

Pyrocumulus above forest fires http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231012000660

Brief overview of Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities
http://www.quora.com/What-is-an-intuitive-explanation-of-the-Rayleigh-Taylor-instability

Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities are important in supernovae: http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev.astro.38.1.191

Video of Rayleigh-Taylor instability with water of different temperatures https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yabqo7VFTYs

Video of Rayleigh-Tayor instability with salt and pure water. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NI85oC-3mJ0

General (not primary) resource – University paper http://www.ral.ucar.edu/staff/jvigh/documents/vigh_adjustment_mechanisms.pdf

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