Explosive Lava and Static Lightning on Big Island of Hawaii

September 02, 2008


Provided and Copyright by: Leigh Hilbert
Summary Author and Editor: Leigh Hilbert

This spectacular photo captured on the Big Island of Hawaii shows surreal static lightning flashes as seen through a massive cloud consisting of super-heated steam, sulfur dioxide, glass particles, and ash. Exploding lava showers instantly created black sand. The cloud was generated when a huge volume of molten lava poured into the ocean. It emanated from a single lava tube that carried it from magma chambers under the flanks of Mauna Loa’s Kilauea volcano, about 7 mi (11 km) further upslope. Photo taken on July 17, 2008 at 8:14 p.m.