Adding lightning to a volcanic eruption will make it either more impressive or more terrifying, depending on how close you are when it happens.
On Friday, Japan’s Sakurajima erupted, with explosive blasts of lava accompanied by bursts of volcanic lightning:
No one was injured during the eruption, but the Japan Meteorological Agency upgraded its alert from level 2 to level 3, warning people not to approach the volcano, which is roughly 32 miles from the Sendai nuclear power plant.
The previous alert level forbid people from approaching the crater.
Volcanic lightning is caused by friction when a large amount of ash bursts from a volcano and the particles rub together in the air, according to National Geographic.
As a result, lightning is rare in eruptions that don’t release much ash.
Sakurajima sits in Kagoshima Bay, looming over Kagoshima City, whose 600,000 residents often endure plumes of ash during its regular activity. For them, Friday’s eruption was just another day living in the shadow of one of the world’s most active volcanoes.
“I’m not scared because I’m used to it,” resident Toru Sakamoto told the Japan Times