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These photos were taken in 2008, in Chile, when the Chaitén volcano erupted for the first time in 9000 years. The eruption also caused a spectacular lightning storm. This can happen when the hot gas and ash rises through the cooler atmosphere, causing a transfer of charge. The excess of electrons within the cloud makes it act like a capacitor, and if all the conditions are correct, huge electrical discharges may be observed as bolts of lightning during volcanic eruptions.Amy Anderson

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