Saturday, May 06, 2006
Can a volcano eruption produce lightning?
This cloud has a lot of energy -- partly from the explosion -- and partly from the hot lava and rock that rapidly lose their heat to the air. This energy causes strong updrafts -- much like those in a thunderstorm. Millions of tiny particles of ash produce static electricity as they collide and fragment in the volcanic cloud. The resulting buildup of static electricity can produce lightning.
But not all volcanic eruptions produce lightning. For example, Hawaiian volcanoes erupt with a quiet, steady outflow of lava.