“It’s tempting to go to the throat of the volcano to get the data, because if you do you’re a hero … It’s a battle between your mind and your emotions. If your emotions win out, you can get yourself in a lot of trouble.” -Ken Wohletz
Back on Monday, I shared with you the incomparable story of volcanic lightning. Little did I know that the night before, Colima volcano in Mexico had just started to erupt.
And another thing I had no way of knowing: world-class astrophotographer César Cantú was there to capture it, taking numerous shots of a spectacular eruption, including a few shots that actually captured the rare phenomenon of volcanic lightning itself!
He's gone and put it together into an unforgettable time-lapse video of Colima volcano erupting; go and watch it now!
Tres magnifique ! !
This is truly a spectacular display of nature! I can only imagine how immensely terrifying and beautiful this must be to behold.
The beauty of science is one of its most charming features-as portrayed above.Though dangerous to observe, the eruption of this strato volcano creates an opportunity for man to learn more about the geological structure of our earth but also reminds us how futile we as observers can be against natures great power. Truly a moment that deserves a spot on a person's bucket list!
Absolutely brilliant footage , to witness such a spectacular phenomenon . Our world is truly amazing and beautiful.
Wow! The phenomenon of volcanic lightning is truly fascinating, but I'd like to know, does volcanic lightning occur in all volcanic eruptions or does it randomly occur in some volcanic eruptions, and how often does it occur?
Brilliant images! Nature never ceases to amaze us with its beauty.
However, as we admire the beauty of the volcanic eruption, let us not forget the hazards it poses to the environment and aircraft.
Very picturesque images indeed.From the footage you can tell though that this volcanic eruption seems very far from human settlement,therefore there looks like there won't be any casualties.But we will keep a close eye on any eventualities.
It is truly amazing to behold this amazing phenomena!
When I think about this it leads to great confusion to a human mind, it is beyond overwhelming thinking about how this phenomena is created or commences and it is sustained.
Volcanoes are found on various other planets throughout our solar system, but on some celestial bodies such as Enceladus the volcanoes are different. They spew cold and frozen gasses - cryovolcanoes. Would volcanic lightning be possible here? And then for anyone who's interested, a comprehensive list of volcano webcams around the world was published on Wired not too long ago! http://www.wired.com/2015/04/worlds-volcano-webcams/
The phenomenon of volcanoes is beautiful. How does the lighting for?
The pictures are very beautiful. Volcanoes are very beautiful, but at a high cost. I would just like to add on to TN's comment. Volcanoes can cause earthquakes, mud slides, fast floods and rock falls. The lava is travelling at a great speed, it burns, buries , or damages anything in its path, including people, trees and houses.
It is true, but it is out of our control. We can't change what it does to the environment.
This is truly amazing. Additional research reveals that these electric charges are generated when rock fragments, particles of ice and ash collide in a volcanic plume, generating static charges as seen in regular thunderstorms. To capture this phenomenon on camera is a major accomplishment and serves to widen our knowledge. Well done!
it is a spectacular display and amazing. I want to know how can you predict when a volcano will erupt and how often thus it happen.?
It is really amazing that Cesar Cantu could capture the lightning activity during the beginning stages as it is apparently really challenging to capture it on film. I am really amazed! I found out somewhere that there exists two types of volcanic lighting, one at the mouth of the erupting volcano and other dancing around just above the volcano. news.discovery.com/earth/rocks-fossils/volcanic-lightning-how-does-it-work-130329.htm
This is beyond amazing!!! Volcanic lightning is truly a unique phenomena. I can only imagine how scary and beautiful it must have been being there and capturing it.
According to Newton's law of gravitation, all particles attracts one-another. Could friction between the ash particles and the forces acting on them play a role in building a charge to cause the lightning?
A volcano is a rupture on the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash and gasses to escape from a magma chamber below the surface. This brilliant footage shows again how fascinating these objects (volcanoes) is.
I have always been fascinated by volcanic eruptions. It is amazing at the amount of force that a single volcano can exert and the amount of fumes released. This seems to be a catastrophic eruptive event that can cause significant changes to the environment surrounding the volcano and climate.
The volcano pictures and video are fascinating, they allow one to think miles further, but the disruptions that occur as a result of this phenomena are unbearable. Nature is complex and beautiful.
A volcano is a rupture on the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash and gasses to escape from magma chamber below the surface. This brilliant footage shows again how fascinating and interesting nature is.
MP Marara in answer to your question. The lightning displayed so magnificently in these images is very rare, so it does not happen very often or with every volcanic eruption. I'm sure there are many interesting scientific articles to find if you are truly interested in this topic.
Volcanoes in the past were viewed as dangerous and life threatening,now we have evolved to see them as beautiful as we observe the very rare phenomenon of volcanic lightening.
The pictures of the Colima volcano starting to erupture is unbelievable, but how does the lightning form in the eruption of the volcano?
Looks amazing. Didn't know something like this existed. How and under what circumstances will something like this happen?
From my comment above student number (u15009662)
From my comment student number (u15009662)
Brilliant footage of the volcanic lightning. Our planet is truly amazing - picturesque yet incredibly dangerous at the same time. In the story on volcanic lightning, shared earlier, it is stated that during a volcanic eruption, heat cause neutral atoms to become ions, which then separate due to different masses, temperatures, etc. until the threshold of breakdown voltage is crossed, producing a lightning strike. Are these lightning strikes of the same magnitude of those created during normal thunderstorms?
Jacobus du Plessis--
Volcano prediction involves lots of monitoring. I'm not an expert, and this is off the top of my head (you can check Wikipedia as well as I can). But I know they use seismometers, because the number of quakes often increases before an eruption, and GPS equipment, to spot movements of the surface above the magma.
My local decade volcano and state symbol, Rainier, is very well monitored.
The pictures of volcanic lightning is amazing! But does every volcano that erupts also cause this lightning or is it a random occurrence? Also volcanoes are found on various other planets, but on some the volcanoes are different. They spew cold and frozen gasses – cryovolcanoes. Would volcanic lightning be possible here?
student number for previous comment u15067841
I like this type of natural phenomenon but im curius about the formation of the thunder along the perioclastics or volcanic ash
are all volcano eruption caused by high pressure exacted when new magma is injected to the chamber that is already full of magma? or is there a different cause of eruption? are the signs seen before the volcano erupts? during volcanic eruption, it is said that " incredible heat cause neutral atoms to become ions" how does heat change neutral atoms to be ions? does this involves redox reaction, gaining and lost of electrons?
what is meant by the term "breakdown voltage"?
This is quite fascinating. Had no idea that lightning strikes can occur during volcanic eruptions. Nature is truly amazing. I would really like to know what equipment were used to determine how the lightning strikes occur, because a volcanic eruption produces very high temperatures. Are there equipment that can resist these extreme temperatures, or is that only a theory?
Picture perfect!. Volcano eruption can cause allot of damage to its area. Can we as humans not maybe create something to use this lightning caused by the eruption positively as an alternative energy source?
These are truly breathtaking images. I would like to understand better as to how the lightning occur in the eruption of the volcano. I have learned from Google Scholar that there is a highly energized hot air altogether with gasses which clashes with cool the atmosphere, thereby creating lighting as the volcano erupts. Secondly, volcanoes play an important role in the economy of the world as they produce nutrient-rich soils and valuable minerals. Does volcanic lighting bring about such advantages as a normal volcanic eruption?
These are truly breathtaking images. I would like to understand better as to how the lightning occur in the eruption of the volcano. I have learned from Google Scholar that there is a highly energized hot air altogether with gasses which clashes with cool the atmosphere, thereby creating lighting as the volcano erupts. Secondly, volcanoes play an important role in the economy of the world as they produce nutrient-rich soils and valuable minerals. Does volcanic lighting bring about such advantages as a normal volcanic eruption? u14248043
Volcanic eruptions can truly be one of the most devastating forces on our planet and to think that within such devastation true beauty can be found gives us hope that not all things are destructive. It would be very interesting to know under which circumstances this lightning is formed and i would appreciate any extra sources with more photos.
To my above comment u15046746
One of the most amazing sites to have been witnessed and captured. To think that the volcanoe occurs on weak zones of the earths crust, one wouldnt expect a further interaction of particles in the ash cloud to create the lightning. u14301815
Volcanoes do indeed give a spectacular view and show us some of the wonders of the world, something so beautiful can indeed wreck people's lives and cause chaos. My question is what exactly causes volcanic lightning, does it occur the same way as lightning in the atmosphere during thunderstorms? .
Nature is truly amazing! I have two questions that I would like to ask you all. Firstly; What type of volcanic eruptions are more likely to form volcanic lightning? Secondly; During an eruption, is it possible for the volcanic lightning to form outside of the ash plume?
Nature is truly amazing and spectacular! I have two questions that I would like to ask you all. Firstly; What type of volcanic eruptions are more likely to form volcanic lightning? Secondly; During an eruption, is it possible for the volcanic lightning to form outside of the ash plume?
The electric flow of opposite charges in two masses causes an electric bolt we know as volcanic lightning. But what makes this unusual is that the bolts do not connect to the solid masses, they only occur in the columns of the erupted volcano. This amazing phenomena is incredibly captured in the photographs above.
This photographs portray volcanic lightning beautifully. It is amazing how a simple chemical reaction of ionisation can create such beauty.
Volcanic eruptions have some advantages except for their beauty in photographs. The ash from the volcano is a very good soil fertiliser. The lava flows can extend land area if it flows into a river or ocean.
The patience and perseverance of the photographer is really commendable. I can hardly imagine how much time and effort has gone into capturing this rare event! César Cantú, CONGRATULATIONS!
Patience as well as bravery! Are volcanoes that errupt violenty more likely to have volcanic lightning, because the amount of positively charged particles is much greater. The positively charged ejecta is discharged towards the ash with a different charge. A lightning bolt balances the charge distribution. Can someone tell me if I am understanding correctly?
Wow that is incredible yet scary at the same time. This reminds me of the city of Pompeii.
wow! the volcanic lightning phenomena is a wonderful work of nature but won't it trigger violent volcanic eruption which can endanger surrounding ecosystem and neighbourhood.
This is truly an incredible picture that must of been amazing to have captured and to of been there in person. I wonder what the sound of the lighting and eruption was like and how loud the noise is and how far awat can you been to hear it?
I would alos just like to know how the volcanic lightning is created and if it is dangerous for the environment? Is this lightning also very different to storm lightning created by the clouds and if so how different?
Please share more amazing pictures on this volcano if anyway has and get back to me on my questions. Lastly how do volcanic eruptions occur and what triggers them so suddenly?
We are currently working on volcanism and I must say that these pictures really make you see nature in a very different light. I don't think we always realize how majestic our world really can be.
How could something so tragic and dangerous look so beautiful, the pictures are perfect but apparently not everything is at it seems. I'm sure if I was there during the eruption i would be saying a different thing, but the question still remains, how does a volcano emit lightning?
That question is answered in the linked article.
This was really quite astounding , this is the first time I have heard from volcanic lightning it really is incredible .The pictures really shows the truth about volcano's the positive and negative views. What is the prescribed lenght from a volcano during the stages shown in the photos, and isn't it dangerous to breath near those volcano's?
This is truly an amazing site and a rear glimpse that shows natures most destructive forces have a beautiful side to go along with their feared reputation. I would just like to know, would the composition of the magma/lava (basaltic or rhyolitic) have an influence on the lightning formation?
The awesome beauty of science is one of its most charming features-as portrayed above.Though very dangerous to observe, the eruption of this strato volcano creates an opportunity for man to learn more about the geological structure of our earth but also reminds us how futile we as observers can be against natures great power. Truly a moment that deserves a spot on a person’s bucket list!
That is truly a phenomenal site.
What initially causes particles to charge before the process of collisions, that contributes to volcanic lightning?
I must say, César Cantú did a really good job with capturing this amazing event.
Is the volcanic lightning formed by eruptions a rare sight or do we see this often?
Some people are unbelievably courageous. Seriously, how did this photographer manage to take such a magnificent photo in such a dangerous place?
I've read somewhere that the precise process of how the lightning forms is still a mystery. According to scientists the variety of mediums (dust, ash, magma, gasses) which can carry a charge can create different types of volcanic lightning. credit to César Cantú for capturing such a rare phenomenon on camera!
Amazing! This is so incredibly Nice! Especially the volcanic lightning, such a great picture of nature taking place indeed
fantastic shotss..! <3
just love natURE.!
It would solve a lot of problems in your world if this energy from the lightning can be captured and used to provide electricity. It is amazing what nature is capable of I think we forget how dangerous it can be.
We learn something new everyday! I thought lightning was generated from the above only!
"Lightning strikes can occur over a period of minutes or even hours". Is it safe to conclude that the longer the time lapse of volcano lighting strikes, the more powerful/eruptive the volcano or the higher the temperature of magma of the volcano.
Awesome pics by César Cantú!
Nature is beautiful. Volcanoes, on their own are just mind-blowing. What caused the lightning to form during the eruption? u14196442
Volcanic eruptions have always fascinated me, it is just brilliant to see images like these that show off the power and beauty of this natural phenomenon. To answer your question Omphile Phala, my father is a geologist and he explained to me that the lightning starts when particles is the air separate due to the volcanic eruption. This splitting causes the negative and positive charges to separate, this charge gradient is what allows electrical flow in the form of lightning to occur.
I hope this helped you to gain a better understanding on how it works.
I have always been truly fascinated by volcanic eruptions, I find it so intriguing that we have absolutely no power over this natural phenomenon! No matter what we do, we can not stop or overcome the power of volcanoes.
I am not certain as to how the lightning is formed above the volcano. I do however think that it might have something to do with the splitting of particles in the air above the volcano. this splitting could cause a current flow between positive and negative particles in the form of lightning.
I was once given the opportunity to see a volcanic eruption first hand. I was flying out of Iceland in September last year when I saw a large cloud of dark ash out of my window. At the time I was exhausted due to a full day of travelling so I didn't take the time to take much note of it. When I arrived home my parents asked me if I had heard about it and only then it hit me that what I had seen was a volcano!
it truly is amazing to see such beautiful work in both a horrifying and a truly beautiful work of nature. Cesar Cantu has definitely done a brilliant job in capturing this moment, especially with all the lighting problems that he must have face. He must have taken many shots and surely these are beautiful. Volcanoes seem harmless in his pictures.
It is absolutely mesmerising seeing thunder combined with a volcanic eruption. It is both striking and shocking. Volcanic eruptions are known to cause an enormous amount of destruction, but these pictures captures the eruption in its moment of beauty. (15019901)
For the comment above, I meant it to be lightning not thunder.
Beautiful volcano observatory pictures by Cesar Cantu indeed. The timing and clarity of the pictures show just how much effort, determination and professionalism he puts in his work. Right from figuring the right time in which the volcano will erupt to the point when he captured the pictures in such adverse conditions. Such passion for the sake of showing the world this natural phenomenon.
This is a truly amazing video. I've never been interested in volcanos or volcanic activity in my life but this video has changed my attitude towards it.I've always associated volcanoes with danger and harm, but this video captures it as harmless, I've also never thought of volcanoes to have lightning . Can anyone maybe explain to me this type of volcano and the type of processes that take place to bring about such a reaction?
Volcanoes are always made out to be the end of the world, the destroyer of life, but this spectacular video shows that not only does volcanoes have the potential to destroy but they are also capable of extreme beauty. An eruption may bring destruction but it also provides fertile soil for the future. I am curious to know whether there is a difference between the lightning in the video and to that from a lightning storm ?
A great picture at the right moment. I am curious to know, how long a volcanic eruption usually lasts and does volcanic lightning always occur with eruptions ?
I am at a lost for words, never did I know that such a destructive force could look so beautiful. Not only was the eruption itself beautiful but the photography was beautiful as well. It really reminded me about the beauty of nature and how it can bring out the best in anything.
A memorable blog, I will never forget the images of that volcano, truly beautiful.
Very beautiful photography. I did not know an eruption could look so beautiful.
A great piece of story, a very fascinating geological feature that is (On the first picture). I wish we Geologists would be exposed to such so we can actually apply our theory and observe the reality of the theory
Now this is why I love being a Geologist!! The beauty of geology
There is calm before a storm, that is indeed true as such a serene and picturesque moment in a mere minutes can cause such catastrophic events that would alter the surroundings it inhabits indefinitely. I would like to know what actually causes volcanic lightning as I was not aware that such a phenomena actually occurred? Truly remarkable!
Beauty to such a degree you would not realise it could be so detrimental. Geology rocks!!!!
The pictures are outstanding and I commend the risk involved.
Wow!!!! Wish that I knew about this sooner as i would have went into the respective study field and pursued this.
the beauty of science at its best.thank you Cesar Cantu(astrophotographer) as I believe that this was a dangerous call to make but you did any way just to give us something that our science do.
what causes those volcanic lightnings?