Chile’s ‘Dirty Thunderstorm’ Is The Mesmerizing Result Of Volcanic Chaos

When Mother Nature wants to flex her muscles, she sure does put on a good show.

The video below, filmed by Chilean cinematographer Christian Muñoz-Donoso for BBC Earth’s Patagonia series, reveals an intense light show known as a “dirty thunderstorm.” The super-charged volcanic ash cloud appeared during an eruption at Volcán Calbuco, one of Chile’s most dangerous volcanos, earlier this year.

According to BBC Earth, dirty thunderstorms, also known as volcanic lightning, are rare phenomena that occur during large eruptions when lightning is sparked within clouds of volcanic ash.

Although very little is known about volcanic lightning, scientists believe the electric charges are generated when ash, rock fragments and ice particles collide within the volcanic plume, according to National Geographic.

“In a normal thunderstorm, ice crystals collide and generate electric charges,” volcano filmmaker Marc Szeglat, who was not involved in filming the below clip, told BBC Earth earlier this year. “In an eruption cloud, ash particles collide instead of ice crystals.”

When Muñoz-Donoso filmed Calbuco’s volcanic lightning in April, it was the first time the volcano had erupted in 42 years, forcing thousands to evacuate and leaving the surrounding areas covered in thick ash. Fortunately, no deaths or injuries were reported.

Watch Chile’s hypnotizing and powerful “dirty thunderstorm” in BBC’s full video below.

Super-charged volcanic ash cloud sparked with lightning in Pat…

Be amazed by a super-charged volcanic ash cloud sparked by lightning.#PATAGONIA

Posted by BBC Earth on Monday, September 28, 2015

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