Colima: volcanic lightning

In November 2015 I captured this volcano footage from Colima in Mexico. Colmia was in a state of sporadic eruption from its main vent. The lava dome was blown out from explosions. So, instead of glowing avalances I observed volcanic lightning in the erupted ash clouds.

I traveled together with my colleagues from the Volcanological Society e.V. and meet with Hernando Alonso Rivera Cervantes who guided us. We rented a cabin, just 6 kilometers away from Colima’s summit.

More about Colima volcano

The Volcán de Colima is part of the Colima Volcanic Complex consisting of Volcán de Colima, Nevado de Colima and the eroded El Cantaro. It is the youngest of the three and is one of the most active volcanos in Mexico. It has erupted more than 40 times since 1576. 

During last years he activity was dominated by growth of an lava dome. In spring 2015 this dome was blown out by a series of explosions. Since then, explosive ash eruptions occur several time each day. This activity lasted several months. Then the explosions decreased and it began to grow a small dom again.

Sakurajima: shock wave and lightning

Volcanic lightning are rare phenomens which are difficult to capture on video. This one from Sakurajima volcano was made by a lot of single frames, each exposed for some seconds and animated via PC to a video sequence. The unique shots were licenced from several TV station all over the world.

Sakurajima facts

Sakurajima means in English Cherry Blossom Island. It is an active stratovolcano and a former island in the Bay of Kagoshima in Kyushu, Japan. The lava flows of the 1914 eruption caused the former island to be connected with the Osumi Peninsula.

The volcanic activity is erupting large amounts of volcanic ash. Earlier eruptions built the white sands highlands in the region. 

Sakurajima’s summit has three peaks: Kita-dake (northern peak), Naka-dake (central peak) and Minami-dake (southern peak). A smaller crater on its east side is called Showa. This is the site of most of the current eruptions.

Sakurajima is famouse for its volcanic lightning. (Sources WIKIPEDIA & USGS)

Photo gallery: Dukono

The photos were taken between 10th and 14th June 2014 on the volcano Dukono. The volcano is located on the Indonesian island of Halmahera. The volcano is constantly active since 2008, but the intensity of the activity varies greatly. We caught the volcano in a very active phase: Volcanic ash rose up to 2.5 km high. At night we were able to observe volcanic lightning and strombolian eruptions. The eruptions hurled lava bombs  beyond the crater rim and presented a serious threat to the observers. Members of the expeditions were Thorsten Böckel, Richard Roscoe and Marc Szeglat.

Sinabung: pyroclastic flows

The eruption of Mount Sinabung started in September 2013, with series of small explosive eruptions. A  lava dome begun to grow in December and some weeks later first pyroclastic flows occurred. The Geonauts reached the volcano in mid-January 2014. We documented the eruption for one week. On some days the volcano was covered by clouds, or the activity was less. But during two nights we observed plenty pyroclastic flows. In some of them we observed volcanic lightning in the rising ash clouds. Most appeared in the night of the 14th January.

The village Sigarang Garang was very badly damaged by the eruption. Many roofs had collapsed under the weight of volcanic ash.

Sakurajima: eruptions and volcanic lightning

Sakurajima is one of the most active volcanoes in Japan. The volcano is in a stage of continuous eruptions since 2009. Most of them are from strombolian type, but some are more powerful vulcanian eruptions. In the ash clouds of these eruptions volcanic lightning occurs more often than on other volcanoes.