What Happens When a ‘Tornado’ Meets a Volcano? Video Shows a 3,300 Foot Column of Gas Swirling Above Bardarbunga

What Happens When a ‘Tornado’ Meets a Volcano? Video Shows a 3,300 Foot Column of Gas Swirling Above Bardarbunga

It sounds like the crazy plot of another made-for-TV movie on the SyFy channel — a tornado forming inside of a volcano lifting gas and flames thousands of feet high. But it’s actually a real life phenomenon that was captured on video in Iceland.


An incredible whirlwind of gas and fire, swirling 3,280ft (1km) into the air, has been captured above Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano.

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The stunning footage was taken last week by an aircraft-fitted infrared camera designed to monitor potentially dangerous ash clouds.

Scientists are still unsure what caused the tornado-like phenomenon, but have suggested it may be due to the difference between hot and colder air, causing something akin to a ‘dust devil.’

‘The generation mechanism is probably the same as that for dust devils, but in this case the tornado funnel is most likely filled with sulphur dioxide, gas and volcanic ash,’ said Nicarnica Aviation told Paul Marks at New Scientist.

… Bardarbunga, which has erupted more lava than any other volcano on the planet in the last 10,000 years, has awakened since mid-August.

Yesterday morning, an earthquake struck the region around the volcano while fissures in the area continued to spew out lava.

The earthquake occurred at 0808 BST and reached a magnitude of 5.4, making it one of the bigger quakes in the area in central Iceland since significant tremors began on August 16.

‘There was also another quake, magnitude 4.6 at 0430 (BST) in the night,’ said Bergthora Thorbjarnardottir, geologist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office.

‘Seismic activity underneath Bardarbunga volcano is still ongoing but remains steady,’ she added.

It is amazing seeing the real-life evidence of what nature can do, and what science can discover. Hopefully, this kind of research can help save lives during volcanic eruptions in the future.

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