Amateur photographer Jóhann Ingi Jónsson took a jeep tour to within about a half-mile (1 kilometer) of the erupting Grimsvotn volcano in Iceland. Read more about his experience.
Particles rubbing together in the eruption plume of Grimsvotn trigger lightning.
Two lightning bolts flash within Grimsvotn's eruption plume
Ash and Steam
The ash cloud from the volcano mingles with steam from the surrounding melting glacier.
Grimsvotn Lightning Cloud
A lightning strike inside Grimsvotn's plume.
The experience of getting up close to an erupting Grimsvotn was "once in a lifetime," said photographer Jóhann Ingi Jónsson.
Lightning flashes purple and pink in this photo taken May 22 during Grimsvotn's eruption.
A view of Grimsvotn
Leaving Grimsvotn around 9 am May 22, Jóhann Ingi Jónsson caught a view of ash clouds over the glacier.
Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano erupts on May 22, 2011.
Ash and Snow
Ash mars snow in southern Iceland.
Getting closer ...
Photographer Jonsson drives toward the Grimsvotn volcano, getting closer to its enormous ash plume.
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Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.