Misattributed/possibly fake volcanic lightning image of Volcan de Fuego

Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
St. Louis

This image is circulating around today purporting to be from this week's eruption of Guatemala's Volcan de Fuego.

There are two problems with the image. First, the link above is to its first known posting in July of 2017, meaning it could not have been from this week's eruption.

The bigger problem is that this type of lightning (upward moving) purely from an erupting volcano would be physically impossible. Upward lightning requires an expansive electrified cloud above the initiating point. The only way for this picture to be genuine is if there were a thunderstorm overhead at the time, in which case the lightning would not be truly volcanic, but a normal thunderstorm-driven upward flash from the mountain peak.

Viewer/sharer be aware.....