It may look cold in blue, but you're looking at a swirling 1-kilometre-high tornado of hot gas, imaged using an infrared camera, as it rose from a fissure on Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano.

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While the images were captured to help understand how heat and ash were rising from the volcano, it's less clear exactly how the tornado formed. "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," explained Fred Prata, who developed the camera used to capture the image. [New Scientist]