Magnificent and frightening, this rare phenomena of a ‘dirty thunderstorm’ makes us thankful that Yellowstone hasn’t erupted recently.
Earlier this year, the Calbuco volcano in Chile erupted with an incredible show of force that would simultaneously make us beg for mercy, stare in admiration, and pack our bags for a different town.
What we see in the video is known as a ‘dirty thunderstorm,’ which occurs in almost every volcanic eruption above sea level.
During this event, ash particles collide with ice crystals and generate electric charges in the process resulting in the lightning.
Unlike most cases in physics, this can be explained fairly simply. Volcanic ash is incredibly dry and when blasted out of the volcano at a high velocity, many of its electrons are stripped from the particles. They are then left supercharged and ready to rip. Literally.
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Incredible, right? A massive natural event like this really puts human life on Earth into perspective.