World famous volcano Krakatau erupted last week, spewing out ash, lava and… volcanic lightning?
Footage released on 28th October by volcanologist Dr. Richard Roscoe shows Anak Krakatau setting off an incredible light show.
But how can a volcano create lightning?
Despite volcanic lightning being recorded as far back as Mt. Vesuvius 2,000 years ago, this phenomenon wasn’t understood until fairly recently.
According to Ethan Siegel of Forbes:
“Volcanic lightning appears to occur most frequently around volcanoes with large ash plumes, particularly during active stages of the eruption, where flowing, molten lava creates the largest temperature gradients.”
“At the temperatures that volcanoes achieve, it’s energetically favorable for an atom to become ionized… (when) there’s an ensuing exchange of charge that happens extremely rapidly… that’s what you see as a lightning strike!”
Basically, the hotter the volcano and the more violent the eruption, the greater the chance of seeing volcanic lightning.
So, if you were planning a trip to Krakatau, think twice!
Watch the spectacular eruption of Krakatau complete with volcanic lightning:
— ABC News (@ABC) October 28, 2018