At least 8,000 evacuated. All flights to and from from Manila’s international airport suspended.
A high-level stratospheric eruption was recorded at Taal Volcano today, January 12, 2020, the volcano’s first eruption since 1977.
The eruption propelled a thick column of ash to 55,000 ft (more than 10 miles, or 16.8 km) above sea level, according to the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).
The eruption also sparked volcanic lightning, an extremely rare phenomenon caused by highly-charged particles rubbing together in dense ash clouds.
The lightning flashes could be seen from the Philippines capital Manila, just 40 miles (65 km) north of the volcano.
“Ash has already reached Manila… it is dangerous to people if they inhale it,” said Renato Solidumhe, Head of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.
A direct cooling effect
An eruption of this size could have a direct affect on the climate, because particulates ejected to altitudes above 32,800 feet (10 km) –and into the stratosphere– often linger, where they have a direct cooling effect on the planet.
See amazing photos of the volcanic lightning:
Thanks to Laurel for these links