Taken at distances as small as 1 kilometer, these pictures of Grimsvotn (the volcano that erupted recently in Iceland) reveal how beautiful and terrifying at the same time volcanic eruptions can be. Blending smoke and ash with lightning, the pictures are truly breathtaking.
They were taken by Johann Ingi Jonsson, an amateur photographer from Reykjavik, who sits 124 miles (200 km) from Grimsvotn. The ash cloud went as high as 20 km into the air, settling at 10-15 km in the atmosphere.
The complete and exact phenomena through which lightning forms at volcanic eruptions is still a matter of debate among scientists, but what is certain is that the process starts when two particles separate, either from a collision or as a result of some other force. Then the positively charged particles to be systematically separated from the negatively charged particles as a result of aerodynamic differences. Lightning is the electrical flow that results when this charge separation becomes too great for air to resist the flow of electricity.