The fury of Mother Nature: Violent lightning storm erupts INSIDE ash cloud as Indonesian volcano spews lava towards villages
- Photographer Martin Rietze captured the fascinating scene at the volatile Sinabung volcano in North Sumatra
- As the ash cloud billows into the night sky a barrage of lightning bolts crackle from deep within it
- It is believed the lightning is a result of fine ash grains colliding and creating huge amounts of static electricity
This is the jaw-dropping moment a lightning storm erupted in an ash cloud as a notorious volcano spewed hot lava towards villages below.
Photographer Martin Rietze’s stunning photos of the volatile Sinabung volcano in Indonesia are a fascinating display of the raw beauty and frightening power of planet Earth.
As the ash cloud billows into the night sky a barrage of lightning bolts crackle from deep within it – creating a mesmerising scene that looks like the entrance to the underworld.
German photographer Martin Rietze, 50, captured the stunning photos while visiting the volatile Sinabung volcano in Indonesia
As the ash cloud billows into the night sky a barrage of lightning bolts crackle from deep within it, creating a fascinating scene
But if that wasn't destructive enough, the Sinabung volcano oozes rivers of scorching hot magma and creates blasts of swirling heat tornadoes.
And despite the obvious dangers, this didn't stop Martin, 50, from photographing the explosive action.
He said: ‘Pyroclastic flows are mainly silent, gliding along at high speeds like a hovercraft. They are absolutely deadly, all life forms that come in to contact with it would die instantly.
‘Seeing such a strong and powerful pyroclastic flow from very near is indeed a little bit frightening.'
Photographer Martin Rietze said some small villages were wiped out by lava flow while others were covered in a layer of thick ash
Mr Rietze, an enthusiast who travels the world to photograph eruptions, said catching the volcano at its highest level phase was 'pure luck'
Known as a pyroclastic flow, the deadly mix of burning hot ash, gas and rock can quickly blanket large areas
Martin said: ‘Nobody was killed by this particular eruption but a few weeks later during its lower activity, one single but exceptionally strong pyroclastic flow did indeed kill some nearby observers.’
He said a few small villages were hit by the lava flow and ‘burned completely’, but more villages and surrounding farmland were covered in three feet of ash.
He added: ‘All crops were destroyed and its inhabitants were evacuated. ‘The mini tornadoes are caused by the hot air from the pyroclastic flow mixing with surrounding air which generates high momentum, spinning air combined with fine dust and ash.
Crops were destroyed and residents were forced to flee their homes after the Sinabung volcano erupted and spewed molten rock and ash