September 18, 2012

Today’s Cool Photo of the Week is an image that I came across of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupting. When natural events of this magnitude happen, we are reminded how little control we have of many of the forces at work on our planet. Although these events can be destructive, they are often very beautiful, as well.

The black cloud that you see against the night sky is ash being spewed into the air by the force of the eruption. Because this glacial volcano is located underneath an icecap, the hot magma cools fairly quickly, turning to ash and grit. That cooling created the giant cloud of ash that shut down air travel on six continents for over a week back in 2010.

The white smoke at the bottom left is steam from the melting ice. And isn’t the lightning magnificent? We often see low energy lightning leaping between particles of lava and ash as they are hurled from the volcanic vent at very high speeds.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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