Fury un­leashed

Focus-Science and Technology - - CONTENTS -


This breath­tak­ing com­bi­na­tion of light­ning and vol­canic erup­tion took place in Chile in 2015, and is known as a dirty storm. In a dirty storm, the black plume bil­low­ing out of a vol­cano's crater car­ries red-hot ash and rock frag­ments that jos­tle and col­lide with each other as the smoke spews up­wards. These col­li­sions cre­ate static elec­tric charges that build un­til they can longer be con­tained, at which point they're dis­charged as bolts of light­ning that arc up­wards through the plume. A 2016 study of dirty storms over Saku­ra­jima vol­cano in Ja­pan sug­gested that vol­canic light­ning could in­di­cate the size of a vol­cano's ash cloud and could there­fore be used as a ba­sis for pro­vid­ing air qual­ity warn­ings to the sur­round­ing area.

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