I watched this incredible storm cloud formation over the Andes, just to the east of San Pedro de Atacama, disappear into the sunset this evening. It carried the appearance of part fog part smoke; a local told me it was rain, or more likely, snow.
It’s a typical formation and feature here during the autumn months over the Andean altiplano, the largest high plateau area on the planet outside of Tibet. The altiplano’s average height is 3,750m (12,300 ft); to give you an idea of the scale here, the two volcanoes in the photo below, Licancabur and Lascar, meet the sky at 5,920m (19,423ft) and 5,592m (18,346ft) respectively.
Here another shot, a wide view of the entire cloud formation from the eastern edge of San Pedro de Atacama. If anyone can further explain more precisely what sort of meteorological forces are at work here, I’d be most grateful.