A dirty thunderstorm (volcanic lightning or dirty lightning?) was created above the latest Mount Etna eruption and a video of the time lapse photographs can be seen below.
Why do all volcano eruptions not produce dirty thunderstorms and the volcanic lightning? Or do they but it has only just started to be recorded?
If lightning is due to the dust/rock/ash creating the electricity needed then most volcano eruptions should produce enough material to trigger lightning discharges?
And why are the nature of the electrical phenomena of volcano eruptions and dirty thunderstorms different to the electric phenomena of normal thunderstorms?
We have not observed similar electrical activity in thunderstorms (we have observed many thunderstorms with the same equipment and have not seen similar electrical signals). This type of electrical activity appears to be unique to volcanic explosions.
Lightning and Electrical Activity during the 2006 Eruption of Augustine Volcano
Dirty thunderstorms in an Electric Universe
Quote below are all from the Thunderbolts Picture of The Day – Earthquakes and Volcanoes – explaining how volcano dirty thunderstorms, lightning and all the other volcano eruption phenomena might be due to natural electrical activity in an Electric Universe.
Large “telluric currents” have been found circulating through Earth’s crust because our magnetic field induces current flow in conductive strata. Thousands of amperes flow beneath the surface, varying according to conductivity. Since the Sun can affect Earth’s magnetic field through geomagnetic storms, fluctuations in telluric currents can occur when there is an increase in sunspots or solar flares, because they create oscillations in the ionosphere.
Sometimes earthquakes can produce flashes of light and other luminous events, as well. Ball lightning has been reported accompanying earthquakes, as have bright, colorful cloud-like formations floating in the sky above the fractured strata. It is not surprising that glow discharges occur before and after earthquakes: compressing quartz creates a flow of electric current. That is one reason why radio noise can be detected coming from areas under extreme stress. Is that stress only due to compression?
Quartz reacts to stress by producing electricity, but when electric charge flows through quartz it vibrates with a frequency coincident with the watts of power supplied to it. In a previous Picture of the Day, our planet was compared to a capacitor, capable of being charged and discharged by external electric fields.
A capacitor stores electric charge. Capacitors are constructed of two conductors, or “plates,” separated by a dielectric insulator. Electric charge on one plate attracts an opposite charge to the other, resulting in an electric field between them. As the capacitor’s charge increases, its electric field increases, stressing the insulator’s ability to separate opposite charges. If a high enough potential grows between the two conductive plates, the dielectric insulator will fail and the capacitor will short circuit, suddenly releasing the stored energy.
It is that phenomenon that most likely contributes to atmospheric lightning discharges. Stored electrical energy in the clouds and in the ground overcome the atmosphere’s ability to keep the two charges separate, so they reach out to each other as “leader strokes.” When the two lightning leaders meet, a circuit between the clouds and the ground (or between one cloud and another) is completed and a burst of electric current flashes along the conductive pathway.
Since magma can be considered a form of liquid plasma, it can also conduct electricity. As the ionosphere is charged up by solar flares, opposite charge is attracted to subterranean magma. Electric currents in plasma pinch down into filaments and form double layers. Electromagnetic forces between current filaments and between double layers can cause sudden pressure variations.
If, as stated above, the charge differential between layers becomes too great, a double layer can explode, releasing all of its energy flow instantaneously. So, earthquakes can be considered a form of underground lightning. If there is a break in the strata, permitting magma to reach the surface, the arc discharge might connect to the outside and a lightning bolt will leap from the cone of a volcano.
If earthquakes are underground lightning bolts, then perhaps seismic waves are the thunderclaps. In that case, it seems likely that the majority of energy release during an earthquake is not from the fracturing and movement of rock strata, but is the result of electrical energy detonating within the matrix.
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