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Ring cloud in the sky near Greater Victoria has internet going in circles

Residents quick to speculate causes on social media, answer more obvious to Environment Canada
A ring cloud was seen from southern Vancouver Island’s coast, looking towards the Olympic Mountains. (Katherine Parsons/Facebook)

Punch cloud? Aliens? Volcanic eruption?

People flocked to Facebook with their theories about what caused the bizarre sight: a ring of clouds floating above the Olympic Mountains spotted on Tuesday afternoon.

How did this airborne anomaly come to be? It’s likely from an airplane, leaving a contrail after flying in a circular holding pattern while waiting for a spot to land at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, according to Doug Lundquist, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

“It’s a busy airport, so it was likely a plane circling. If you look you can see the entry and entrance points,” he said.

The ring cloud phenomenon is not unheard of, said Lundquist, but this one is unique.

“This one is particularly impressive because you can only see a hint of the entrance and exit trails. What a perfect shot of how Mother Nature and humans work to make beauty in the sky.”

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