Out-of-this-world moment lightning strikes erupting volcano


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The spectacular moment one of the world’s most active volcanoes was struck by lightning has left people in disbelief.

Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala is an active stratovolcano which is famous for being almost constantly active at a low level.

The volcano, which means ‘Volcano of Fire’ in Spanish, burps gas often but in recent years it has erupted in powerful bursts that saw thousands evacuated and left local villages under threat.

Now a video has been shared online of the volcano spewing lava as it’s struck by bolts of electricity.

Volcán de Fuego can be seen being struck several times as the crowd looks on in awe, watching as two powerful forces of nature collide during a storm.

Lightning bolt strikes erupting volcano (Picture: Youtube)
Volcán de Fuego is an active volcano that burps a lot (Picture: Getty)

A lightning storm can happen around a volcano when ash particles from the plume collide, creating a massive static electricity storm within the volcanic plume.

Caused by a volcanic eruption rather than from an ordinary thunderstorm, the electrical discharge is known as a dirty thunderstorm. 

But unlike ordinary thunderstorms, volcanic lightning can also occur when there are no ice crystals in the ash cloud. 

As the video circulated around social media, people took to X to voice their opinions.

One person, Chisom, said: ‘I saw this happen last year, it was terrifying and wonderful at the same time.’

Another, M.Nouman, said: ‘Frightening scene.’

What type of Volcano is Volcán de Fuego?

Fuego is a stratovolcano or composite volcano which is defined by a steep, conical shape.

It can be seen from the capital, Guatemala City, 44km (27 miles) south-west of Fuego’s summit.

It sits in the Ring of Fire, which is a horse-shoe-shaped string of volcanoes, earthquake sites and tectonic plates around the Pacific.

Volcán de Fuego erupted in 2018, 2021, 2022 and 2023, spewing ash and pyroclastic flows which forced thousands to evacuate.

Lightning activity occurs across the world, with electrical storms happening in places such as Alaska, Iceland, Italy, Philippines, Indonesia and Japan.

The earliest observation of volcanic lightning describes the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, but more modern-day observations saw eruptions in the same volcano in 1858, 1861, 1868, and 1872 from the Vesuvius Observatory.

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