Like Volcanoes Aren’t Scary Enough, Now They’re Spawning Twisters!
The Indonesian volcano Sinabung was dormant until pretty recently. In January 2014, it switched to high gear, blasting out massive amounts of ash high into the atmosphere. A lava dome has collapsed on Feb. 1 creating a pyroclastic flow, a rapid and dangerous wave of hot gas and rock, that thundered downslope. Not terrifying enough?
Listen to this! These pyroclastic flows can create tornado-like vortices! And they’ve been caught on camera:
What are volcanic tornadoes and how do they form?
Now technically these aren’t tornadoes, even if they look like it. Tornadoes form from the top down, dropping from the cloud base.
However, the volcanic vortices caught on video are built from the ground up. The pyroclastic flow heats the air over the ground, causing it to rise. Air from the sides then rushes in to fill the partial vacuum. This creates swirls, eddies of turbulence, which can get amplified into the vortices seen in the video (and also in fire tornadoes which are also seriously a thing). But still, yeesh.
Read more here.