What Are Mustache Clouds?

Learn about this rare and interesting cloud formation - Quick, before it's gone!

How long has it been since you’ve lain in the grass looking for shapes in the clouds?

It’s natural to perceive recognizable forms—animals, faces, or other everyday items—in random patterns. Our brains are wired to seek out the familiar. There’s even a word—pareidolia, from the Greek for “resembling an image”—to describe the phenomenon.

Some cloud shapes can give us insight into what kind of weather to expect, while others are just interesting to look at.

If you’re out cloud watching and happen to see a horseshoe or a mustache shape, though, you might want to grab a camera. Chances are, you’re looking at one of the rarest cloud formations around: a horseshoe vortex cloud.

But you’d better hurry! These elusive formations only hang around for a minute or so before dissipating.

Horseshoe vortex clouds, also known as mustache clouds, form at the edges of horizontal cylinders of rapidly rotating air – essentially tornadoes tipped onto their sides. The vortices form from updrafts created by powerful super cell storms.

The energy of the vortex shears away a small amount of water vapor from a nearby cloud formation, then bends the small cloud into a semicircle around itself as it rotates.

The effect is short-lived, though. The same force that creates the shape quickly causes it to dissipate, expelling the water vapor away from itself.

While it isn’t clear in still photographs of mustache clouds, in videos of the formations, it’s possible to see the outer edge of the arc rolling along like a wheel.

The process is similar to what happens when you take the lid off a running blender before its contents have completely integrated. If you’ve ever gotten a face full of powdered sugar from the blender, you’ve seen the principle that creates a vortex cloud.

Looking up at the sky is a habit many of us grow out of as we grow older, but if you’re a cloud connoisseur, you may consider joining the Cloud Appreciation Society, a club dedicated to, well, appreciating interesting or unusual clouds. Their website features photos of horseshoe vortex clouds as well as hundreds of other interesting formations.

Watch this video of a mustache cloud forming:

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Jaime McLeod

Jaime McLeod is a longtime journalist who has written for a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites, including MTV.com. She enjoys the outdoors, growing and eating organic food, and is interested in all aspects of natural wellness.

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Hi , I’ve photographed this phenomenon many many times BUT in some pictures metalic, lights & other objects are in the photos. Mostly creatures that look like mythical animals or creatures not of our world. . I believe Something else is happening. . As the pictures I have are of people I will meet, up & coming events or images of people’s thoughts and much more… I believe there may be a connection with consciousness.. E.T. and possibly what some of us perceive as God. Some of my photos need explaination & close examination to under what “they” really are.I definitely DON’T believe some of my photos are just random shapes that my mind is creating or making up. Some of the photos are veiwable on my Facebook page.


I saw one in NYC tonight at sunset over the Hudson. I was driving, so I could not photograph it. I really hope others got the picture. It was so cool to see!!!!

Susan Higgins

Hi Michael, they’re really rare to spot. Very cool!


Interesting, I’ll be looking for them. CHEM Trails, on the other hand, the use of metals in fuels like aviation and diesel is very real. Metals are routinely added to fuels as conditioners among other technical reasons. This is part of fuel engineering. However, the fuel industry ignores the environmental and public health consequences. I can tell you that the damage from exposure is substantial and very real. This is something the industry does not disclose nor want anyone to know about. Is there a chemtrail conspiracy ? No, there is not a chemtrail conspiracy as these metals are part of standard fuel formulations from product development research. The formulations are in every gallon of Jet and Diesel fuel. The metals actually mask the black trails that would be seen, replacing them with white particulate.


Nice video but there is a lot more then a moustache in the sky, these days and it is not a product of my imagination.I may be a grand mother but I never stopped looking at the skies.
Unfortunately what I witness today is so unnatural , one can not help but worry.What on earth, is going on? Why are the experts keeping their mouth shut and why has it, to date, not made head lines in the news?


And why is it that we’re not hearing about these chem-trails on the news???


can any one say chem spray, if you look at the pretend clouds they will spread out and cover the sky. these are chemical nano partials sprayed from the planes. look up chem-trails.

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