Volcanic Lightning

volcanic lightningLightning by itself is pretty scary. An active volcano by itself is even scarier. An active volcano spewing forth lightning is down right terrifying.

Why does a volcanic eruption sometimes create lightning? Pictured above, the Sakurajima volcano in southern Japan was caught erupting in early January. Magma bubbles so hot they glow shoot away as liquid rock bursts through the Earth’s surface from below. The above image is particularly notable, however, for the lightning bolts caught near the volcano’s summit. Why lightning occurs even in common thunderstorms remains a topic of research, and the cause of volcanic lightning is even less clear. Surely, lightning bolts help quench areas of opposite but separated electric charges. One hypothesis holds that catapulting magma bubbles or volcanic ash are themselves electrically charged, and by their motion create these separated areas. Other volcanic lightning episodes may be facilitated by charge-inducing collisions in volcanic dust. Lightning is usually occurring somewhere on Earth, typically over 40 times each second.” (APOD).

More images by Martin Rietze can be found on his website, Alien Landscapes on Planet Earth, and over at Colossal. Superb images, all of them, and an amazing example of a weird natural phenomenon.


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2 Responses to Volcanic Lightning

  1. Pingback: Time Lapse – All Alone In The Night | Richer Ramblings

  2. Pingback: Chile’s Calbuco Volcano Eruption | Richer Ramblings

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