PHOTOS: Chile Volcano Erupts With Ash and Lightning

PHOTOS: Chile Volcano Erupts With Ash, Lava, Lightning
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May 6, 2008After 9,000 years of silence, Chile's Chaitin volcano (pictured on May 3) is erupting with lava, ashand lightning (full story).

Since the volcano awoke on May 2, it has continued erupting intermittently, blanketing the area in ash and forcing more than 4,000 people to flee.

(Related photos: "Chile Volcano Threatens Animals, Farms.")

The mingling of lightning and ash seen above may be a "dirty thunderstorm."

The little-understood storms may be sparked when rock fragments, ash, and ice particles in the plume collide to produce static chargesjust as ice particles collide to create charge in regular thunderstorms. (More: "Volcanic Lightning Sparked by 'Dirty Thunderstorms,' Study Finds" [February, 2, 2007].)

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—Photograph by Carlos Gutierrez/UPI/Landov
 
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