On 4 June 2011, a Chilean volcano named Cordon Caulle began to erupt, and continued to do so for nearly a year. But the first days were the most spectacular, with explosions, huge ash clouds, and eye-popping lightning.
Lightning within volcanic eruptions is caused by the bits and pieces of mountain torn up by the explosion—rock, ash, ice from snow caps or glaciers—colliding within the ash plume and producing static charges. Since there are so many particles being produced by the explosion, all rushing upward and outward at Ludicrous Speed, the number of collisions is very high and thus so is the amount of static charge—which translates to a lot of lightning. Some call this a “dirty thunderstorm.”
Photographer Francisco Negroni took this shot from Lago Ranco on the second night of the eruption. I hope he used a very long telephoto lens.
(Click the image to vulcanate.)