Dazzling moment lightning strikes an erupting volcano sending bolts streaking across the night sky

Captured on camera was the astonishing instance when a lightning bolt struck an erupting volcano in Guatemala.

The captivating footage depicts numerous bolts crisscrossing the mountain, forming a spider web pattern that streaks and flashes across the night sky. These lightning bolts converge upon the lava and smoke emerging from the volcano’s vent, creating a dazzling visual spectacle.

This event took place on September 21st and featured Volcán de Fuego, commonly known as the “Volcano of Fire.” It’s renowned as one of the world’s most active volcanoes, frequently ejecting ash into the atmosphere approximately every 15 minutes.

The occurrence of lightning seemingly striking volcanic material as it surges into the sky is a seldom-witnessed phenomenon.

This occurrence, often referred to as ‘volcanic lightning,’ results from the collision and fragmentation of particles within the volcanic ash, and at times, ice. These interactions generate static electricity within the volcanic plume.

The earliest documented accounts of volcanic lightning date back to Pliny the Younger’s descriptions of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

A breathtaking moment as lightning strikes an erupting volcano, all caught on camera.
The mesmerizing footage captures the Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala during one of its frequent eruptions last Thursday.
The term ‘volcanic lightning’ stems from the collision and fragmentation of volcanic ash particles, and sometimes ice, within the volcanic plume. This process generates static electricity.
Due to its position within the Pacific Ring of Fire, Guatemala boasts an unusually dense concentration of volcanoes.

The Roman author and administrator described the darkness during a volcanic eruption vividly: ‘There was a most intense darkness rendered more appalling by the fitful gleam of torches at intervals obscured by the transient blaze of lightning.’

Guatemala, situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire, boasts an unusually high concentration of volcanoes, with at least 324 volcanoes and eruptive centers scattered throughout the country, covering an area about half the size of Great Britain.

Among these, three volcanoes—Fuego, Pacaya, and Santiaguito—are presently active and closely monitored by Guatemalan authorities. Fuego, towering at over 10,000 feet above sea level, holds the title of the most active stratovolcano in Central America. Its most recent significant eruption occurred in December 2022, scattering ash up to 30 miles away. The devastating eruption in June 2018 claimed the lives of over 300 people and propelled ash 30,000 feet above sea level.

The surrounding hills offer accommodations for tourists to witness the volcano’s eruptions through the night. However, heavy rainfall in the region can lead to dangerous mudflows, particularly when combined with volcanic ash. In 1541, a mudflow resulting from a mix of rain and volcanic ash destroyed Ciudad Vieja, the first established city in Guatemala, founded by Spanish Conquistadors.

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