Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

Experimental generation of volcanic lightning

C. Cimarelli, M. A. Alatorre-Ibargueengoitia, U. Kueppers, B. Scheu and D. B. Dingwell
Experimental generation of volcanic lightning
Geology (Boulder) (December 2013) 42 (1): 79-82


Explosive volcanic eruptions are commonly associated with intense electrical activity and lightning. Direct measurement of the electric potential at the vent, where the electric activity in the volcanic plume is first observed, is severely impeded, limiting progress in its investigation. We have achieved volcanic lightning in the laboratory during rapid decompression experiments of gas-particle mixtures under controlled conditions, and recorded it using a high-speed camera and two antennas. We find that lightning is controlled by the dynamics of the particle-laden jet and by the abundance of fine particles. The relative movement of clusters of charged particles generates the electrical potential, which is necessary for lightning. The experimental generation of volcanic lightning suggests that rapid progress can now be expected in understanding electrical phenomena in volcanic plumes to implement lightning monitoring systems and the forecasting of volcanic ash emissions.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 42
Serial Issue: 1
Title: Experimental generation of volcanic lightning
Affiliation: Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Munich, Germany
Pages: 79-82
Published: 20131206
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 30
Accession Number: 2014-002355
Categories: Quaternary geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository item 2014018
Illustration Description: illus.
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201403
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal