Did you know that Volcano Thunderstorms, also known as Volcanic Lightning or Dirty Thunderstorms, are a spectacular and rare natural phenomenon caused by volcanic eruptions?
What are Volcano Thunderstorms ?
Volcanic Lightning or Dirty Thunderstorms are an electrical discharge caused by a volcanic eruption. Gas and lava from a volcano are released explosively. These volcanic eruptions are partly driven by pressure from dissolved gas, much as escaping gases force the cork out of a bottle of champagne.
How do they occur ?
Volcanic Lightning occurs when static electricity (the imbalance between the negative and positive charges) builds up in the atmosphere before taking the form of a lightning bolt.
Scientists say that as the plume of ash and water vapour rises from the volcano, ice begins to form in high layers. The ice crystals collide and build up enough electric charge which triggers a lightning strike.
Where do they occur ?
Alaska’s Mount Augustine - The volcanic lightning is frequently active with major eruptions recorded in 1883, 1935, 1963-1964, 1976, 1986 and 2006.
Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy- Mount Etna has had four major eruptions in 2001, 2002-2003, 2004-2005 and 2008-2009.
Taal Volcano in The Philippines- This Mountain has experienced the biggest volcanic eruption on earth. There have been 35 volcanic lightning eruptions since 3,580 BCE.
1. SciTechDaily.com. (2022, May 11). Volcanic lightning: The science behind this spectacular phenomenon. SciTechDaily. Retrieved April 30, 2023, from https://scitechdaily.com/volcanic-lightning-the-science-behind-this-spectacular-phenomenon/
2. Volcanic lightning happens at the beginning of a volcanic eruption. Discovery. (n.d.). Retrieved April 30, 2023, from https://www.discovery.com/science/volcanic-lightning-happens-at-the-beginning-of-a-volcanic-erupti
4. Photo by Clive Kim: https://www.pexels.com/photo/volcano-erupting-at-night-under-starry-sky-4220967/