Astounding Lightening Strikes Active Volcano

Observers watching the eruption of Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala last month witnessed a spectacular event when lightning appeared to strike the active volcano. Videos of the scene have been circulating online this week, with one captioned: “What are the odds?”

Surprisingly, the odds are quite favorable. Any erupting volcano can produce its own lightning. When volcanoes erupt, they eject gases, lava, rocks, and ash into the air. The ash particles collide with each other, generating static electricity that can lead to lightning.

As the ash particles rub against one another, their atoms either shed or gain electrons, creating positively and negatively charged areas within the ash plume, according to the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. To maintain a neutral charge, the excess electrons in the negatively charged part of the plume jump across to the positively charged area, temporarily restoring balance and producing lightning.

The most severe lightening storm ever recorded was caused by the eruption of the Tonga volcano. At its peak, the storm produced 2,600 flashes per minute.

Volcanoes that produce lightning are sometimes referred to as “dirty thunderstorms.” Lightning can also be produced by intense wildfires, hurricanes, snowstorms, and surface nuclear detonations, according to the National Severe Storms Laboratory.

Check this Instagram post on this one!

Here are some videos of the breathtaking sight:

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