MARTIN RIETZE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARTIN RIETZE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pyroclastic flow, Mount Sinabung, January 2014, generating volcanic lightning. Also known as a nuee ardente (glowing avalanche), a pyroclastic flow is a highly destructive phenomenon that consists of a very hot cloud of volcanic ash, dust and gases. The cloud cascades down the slopes of the volcano, supported by searingly hot volcanic gases that can exceed 800 degrees Celsius. The low friction of the gas allows the cloud to reach speeds of over 160 kilometres per hour. The cloud will incinerate trees and most objects in its path. Mount Sinabung is an active stratovolcano (2460 metres) on Sumatra in Indonesia. This pyroclastic flow was photographed in the the period 12-19 January 2014.
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