Last week, EarthSky published a series of photos of dramatic sunsets in Brazil, caused by the April 22 eruption of Chile’s Calbuco volcano. On Sunday afternoon – May 3, 2015 – Peter Lowenstein in Mutare, Zimbabwe sent us the photos in this post. He said that the aerosols from this volcanic eruption have now crossed the South Atlantic and are causing dramatic sunsets in African skies. He wrote:
I have been keeping a close lookout for the past few days and this evening witnessed the first spectacular volcanic sunset in the skies to the west of Mutare.
I attach three images taken over a twenty minute period which show the development of a bright orange glow at 5:42 p.m., red, magenta and purple crepuscular rays at 5:46 p.m. and then a diffuse lilac-purple glow at 6:07 p.m. just before dark.
These were taken using my Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ60 compact camera in sunset mode with wide angle zoom.
I think these may be the first pictures of a Calbuco volcanic sunset to be taken outside South America.
Thank you, Peter!
Dramatic sunset colors from a volcano in one part of the world can persist for many months and be seen across the globe. When Mount Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, its afterglows persisted to varying degrees for about 18 months after the initial explosion, according to Stephen F. Corfidi at NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center.
Bottom line: Vivid sunset colors, caused by the eruption of Calbuco volcano in Chile on April 22, have now reached Africa. Photos taken May 3, 2015 by Peter Lowenstein in Zimbabwe. How far will the aerosols from this volcano spread, and how long will they persist?
Dr. Peter Lowenstein has contributed many beautiful and fascinating images and stories to EarthSky. Trained as a geochemist, he spent his early years with the Geological Survey of Papua New Guinea, specializing in metals and volcanoes. In 1989, he moved to the Zimbabwe Geological Survey as Chief Economic Geologist and has lived and worked in Zimbabwe ever since. Peter is now retired to Zimbabwe, in a house with a beautiful view in Murambi East, Mutare, where he pursues favorite hobbies including construction of electronic gadgets, listening to music, gardening, surfing the Internet ... and photography.