After a 9,000 year slumber, Chile’s Chaitén volcano awoke in full fury. On May 2nd, the mountain began spewing lava, ash—and lightning.
In what’s known as a “dirty thunderstorm”, rock fragments, ash, and ice particles in the plume collide to produce static charges— just as ice particles collide to create a charge in typical thunderstorms.
Over 4,000 people were evacuated from the region. The ash cloud reached a height of over 19 km.