February 21, 2014

Green lightning during the eruption of the volcano Chaiten in Chile

Green lightning during the eruption of the volcano Chaiten in Chile
Eruption Volcano by Landov


Green lightning strikes as the Chaiten volcano erupts in Chile. The eerie lightning strikes may be what scientists call 'streamers,' only visible when occurring in a cloud of volcanic ash.


A storm of charged particles coursing through a volcanic ash cloud sparked the spectacular green lightning seen at Chile's Chaiten Volcano in 2008. The volcano looms over the Andes about 800 miles (1,285 kilometers) south of Santiago, Chile, and erupted on May 2 of that year after lying dormant for hundreds of years

Few thinks that the volcanic green lightning strikes are what scientists call "streamers" - channels of positive charge surging from the ground to the atmosphere.

In thunderstorms, these positively charged zones hide inside the clouds, carried on ice crystals, Few said. When the channels connect with clouds of negatively charged particles, lightning results. But volcanic ash reveals the streamers because ash particles swirl on the cloud's surface.


The green color comes from electrically excited oxygen atoms, similar to the phenomenon that produces the Earth's green aurora.

Green lightning during the eruption of the volcano Chaiten in Chile
Eruption Volcano

Eruption Volcano Chaiten in Chile
Eruption Volcano by Carlos Gutierre




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