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A mushroom cloud is the cloud commonly formed when a nuclear bomb is detonated, but it can also form when something such as a volcanic eruption or a major explosion occurs. A mushroom cloud rises due to the masses of hot air inside the cloud, this causes the cloud to rise rapidly and the top to spread out, forming the common mushroom cloud shape.
Mushroom cloud

Mushroom cloud from 1960's Operation Greenhouse atomic bomb test George.