Friday, November 4, 2011

Screw CGI, no. 6: Chilean volcano ash cloud lightning

From National Geographic's Pictures We Love: Best of October:

Photograph by Ricardo Mohr, My Shot

Remember the scene from the Radiers of the Lost Ark when the ark is opened? Or an apocalyptic vision out of Hellboy or some "End Times" thriller?  This isn't that, but I'd believe it if it was. Instead, it's something far cooler...

A cloud of lightning-topped ash rises toward a starry sky during the June eruption of southern Chile's Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano complex in a picture submitted to My Shot in October. The summer eruption grounded flights in Chile and neighboring Argentina.

This month officials began evacuating people from the immediate vicinity of the Hudson Volcano, 470 miles (756 kilometers) south of Puyehue-Cordón Caulle, according to the Associated Press. Recent releases of steam and ash from the volcano have had authorities in Chile and Argentina on high alert, AP reports.

According to National Geographic, these little-understood "dirty thunderstorms" may get sparked up when "rock fragments, ash, and ice particles in the plume collide to produce static charges — just as ice particles collide to create charge in regular thunderstorms."

Utterly wowed by this image and what it depicts, I plugged the keywords Chile ash cloud lightning volcano into Google Images and got my mind wow-ified a bunch more:

National Geographic

National Geographic

NASA / Astronomy Picture of the Day

National Geographic

The News Tribune
Hat tip: Boing Boing