airburst) or a mushroom-type cloud (low air or surface burst).
Relatively low yield nuclear surface bursts have clouds similar to those
produced by surface bursts of conventional explosives.
and rapid growth in height and width are characteristics of this stage of
This nuclear burst cloud stage continues until the cloud
ceases to grow in height (stabilizes in height), although the width may
continue to increase.
Height stabilization occurs from about 4 to 14
minutes after the explosion, depending upon the yield.
When the cloud
ceases to grow in height, the stabilized cloud stage begins and continues as
long as the cloud is detectable. Development of the cloud formation phases
of a typical surface nuclear burst is illustrated in Figure 1-1.
Nuclear Cloud Development (Surface Burst)