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WATCH: Chile's Huge Volcanic Eruption Makes Lightning, Can Be Seen From Space

FIONA MACDONALD
25 APR 2015

Earlier this week, Chile's Cabulco volcano started erupting for the first time in 43 years, spraying dust and ash at least 15 kilometres into the sky, and causing the evacuation of up to 2,000 local residents.

 

Thankfully there have been no casualties or serious injuries reported, but the volcano has put on one hell of a show, producing a breathtaking display of volcanic lightning with its second eruption and blasting out red-hot rocks and lava. You can marvel at the power of nature in the incredible time-lapse footage below.

What causes volcanic lightning? As Bec Crew wrote for ScienceAlert last month, this eerily beautiful phenomenon is triggered when giant ash clouds spew out of a volcano's mouth: "As the individual ash particles make contact and rub against each other, they produce enough static electricity to convert into bursts of lightning."

This ash cloud has since caused flight cancellations as it blows across South America, and has produced a plume that can be seen from space. The below infrared image was taken by the Suomi NPP satellite on 23 April.

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NASA’s Terra satellite also snapped a natural-colour photo of the ash plume, below:

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And there have been no shortage of amazing Earth-bound images across Twitter.

You can see the volcano's initial eruption unfolding below, and follow Indefinitely Wild's coverage for updated footage and photos.

H/t: Indefinitely Wild