How can volcanic eruptions cause red sunsets?​


What will be the ideal response?


ANSWER: Volcanic eruptions rich in sulfur can produce red sunsets. Such red sunsets are actually produced by a highly reflective cloud of sulfuric acid droplets, formed from sulfur dioxide gas injected into the stratosphere during powerful eruptions. Two examples are the Mexican volcano El Chichón in 1982 and the Philippine volcano Mt. Pinatubo in 1991. These fine particles, moved by the winds aloft, circled the globe, producing beautiful sunrises and sunsets for months and even years after the eruptions. These same volcanic particles in the stratosphere can turn the sky red after sunset, as some of the red light from the setting Sun bounces off the bottom of the particles back to Earth’s surface. Generally, these volcanic red sunsets occur about an hour after the actual sunset (see Fig. 20.12).​


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