Volcanoes Vs. Lightning [Pics]

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Image: Carlos Gutierrez via BLDGBLOG

At Environmental Graffiti, we’re a bit partial towards all things volcanic. Smouldering fumaroles, bubbling mud volcanoes, sizzling lava lakes, they’ve all been covered here over recent months. Little surprise then, that the idea of volcanoes combined with another extreme and volatile natural phenomenon – lightning – really got us rubbing our hands together. Prepare for fire and brimstone clashes of epic proportions as two of Mother Earth’s most powerful forces go head to head – and we marvel at the mystery of volcanic lightning.


Image: by Carlos Gutierrez via BLDGBLOG

These opening images depict the eruption of Chile’s Chaiten volcano, which last year unexpectedly began to vent its volcanic fury for the first time in over nine thousand years. With volcanic lightning getting in on the act, from a purely photographic point of view it was worth the wait. The awesome power of charged electricity violently grabbing hold of and coursing through the plume of volcanic smoke and ash leaves one breathless.

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Image: by Carlos Gutierrez via BLDGBLOG

However, there was a more ominous side to this geologically explosive incident, likewise brilliantly captured by these apocalyptic looking shots. Once it had escaped the grip of the lightning, Chaiten’s eruption column rose to an estimated height of over 98,000 feet (30,000 m), prompting the evacuation of its nearby village and surrounding areas, and sending out dense ash clouds that contaminated water supplies and coated one town 30 cm deep.

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