Eruption clouds are often dark colored – brown to gray – but they can also be white, very similar to weather clouds. Eruption clouds may drift for thousands of kilometers downwind and often become increasingly spread out over a larger area with increasing distance from an erupting vent (note fan-shaped eruption cloud in photographs at left). Large eruption clouds can encircle the Earth within days.
Eruption cloud is often used interchangeably with plume or ash cloud.
Related category GEOLOGY AND PLANETARY SCIENCE
Source: U.S. Geological Survey
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