Volcanic electrification: recent advances and future perspectives


The electrification of volcanic plumes has been described intermittently since at least the time of Pliny the Younger and the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius. Although sometimes disregarded in the past as secondary effects, recent work suggests that the electrical properties of volcanic plumes reveal intrinsic and otherwise inaccessible parameters of explosive eruptions. An increasing number of volcanic lightning studies across the last decade have shown that electrification is ubiquitous in volcanic plumes. Technological advances in engineering and numerical modelling, paired with close observation of recent eruptions and dedicated laboratory studies (shock-tube and current impulse experiments), show that charge generation and electrical activity are related to the physical, chemical, and dynamic processes underpinning the eruption itself. Refining our understanding of volcanic plume electrification will continue advancing the fundamental understanding of eruptive processes to improve volcano monitoring. Realizing this goal, however, requires an interdisciplinary approach at the intersection of volcanology, atmospheric science, atmospheric electricity, and engineering. Our paper summarizes the rapid and steady progress achieved in recent volcanic lightning research and provides a vision for future developments in this growing field.

Volcanic lightning, Volcano monitoring, Volcanic ash, Explosive volcanism, Lightning detection systems, SAKURAJIMA-VOLCANO, ELECTRICAL-ACTIVITY, CHARGE SEPARATION, ERUPTION, TRIBOELECTRIFICATION, PROPAGATION, DYNAMICS, FRACTURE, SIGNALS, PLUMES, Geosciences, Multidisciplinary
Cimarelli, C., Behnke, S., Genareau, K., Harper, J. M., & Van Eaton, A. R. (2022). Volcanic electrification: recent advances and future perspectives. In Bulletin of Volcanology (Vol. 84, Issue 8). Springer Science and Business Media LLC. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-022-01591-3