<p><strong>In a scene no human could have witnessed, an apocalyptic agglommeration of lightning bolts illuminates an ash cloud above Chile's <a href="http://maps.nationalgeographic.com/map-machine#s=h&amp;c=-40.57545707990509, -72.12133817374705&amp;z=11">Puyehue volcano (map)</a> on Sunday. </strong></p><p>The minutes-long exposure shows individual bolts as if they'd all occurred at the same moment and, due to the Earth's rotation, renders stars (left) as streaks. Lightning to the right of the ash cloud appears to have illuminated nearby clouds—hence the apparent absence of stars on that side of the picture.</p><p>After an ominous series of earthquakes Saturday morning, the <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/geopedia/Iceland#Land of Fire and Ice">volcano</a> erupted that afternoon, convincing authorities to evacuate some 3,500 area residents. Eruptions over the course of the weekend resulted in heavy ashfalls, including in Argentine towns 60 miles (a hundred kilometers) away.</p><p><em>—With reporting by Christine Dell'Amore</em></p>

Volcanic Lightning

In a scene no human could have witnessed, an apocalyptic agglommeration of lightning bolts illuminates an ash cloud above Chile's Puyehue volcano (map) on Sunday.

The minutes-long exposure shows individual bolts as if they'd all occurred at the same moment and, due to the Earth's rotation, renders stars (left) as streaks. Lightning to the right of the ash cloud appears to have illuminated nearby clouds—hence the apparent absence of stars on that side of the picture.

After an ominous series of earthquakes Saturday morning, the volcano erupted that afternoon, convincing authorities to evacuate some 3,500 area residents. Eruptions over the course of the weekend resulted in heavy ashfalls, including in Argentine towns 60 miles (a hundred kilometers) away.

—With reporting by Christine Dell'Amore

Photograph by Francisco Negroni, Agenci Uno/European Pressphoto Agency

Pictures: Chile Volcano Plume Explodes With Lightning

Spewing an apocalyptic, lightning-strewn plume this weekend, Chile's Puyehue volcano burst back to life after a decades-long slumber.

Read This Next

Grief drove a photographer to India. She found joy.
Why do we age?
What causes earthquakes?

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet