Space Science Reviews

, Volume 137, Issue 1–4, pp 399–418

Electrical Charging of Volcanic Plumes

  • M. R. James
  • L. Wilson
  • S. J. Lane
  • J. S. Gilbert
  • T. A. Mather
  • R. G. Harrison
  • R. S. Martin
Article

Abstract

Many explosive terrestrial volcanic eruptions are accompanied by lightning and other atmospheric electrical phenomena. The plumes produced generate large perturbations in the surface atmospheric electric potential gradient and high charge densities have been measured on falling volcanic ash particles. The complex nature of volcanic plumes (which contain gases, solid particles, and liquid drops) provides several possible charging mechanisms. For plumes rich in solid silicate particles, fractoemission (the ejection of ions and atomic particles during fracture events) is probably the dominant source of charge generation. In other plumes, such as those created when lava enters the sea, different mechanisms, such as boiling, may be important. Further charging mechanisms may also subsequently operate, downwind of the vent. Other solar system bodies also show evidence for volcanism, with activity ongoing on Io. Consequently, volcanic electrification under different planetary scenarios (on Venus, Mars, Io, Moon, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione and Triton) is also discussed.

Keywords

Volcanic eruptions Lightning Fractoemission Tribocharging Particle aggregation 

PACS

91.40.Dr 91.40.Ft 96.12.XY 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. R. James
    • 1
  • L. Wilson
    • 1
  • S. J. Lane
    • 1
  • J. S. Gilbert
    • 1
  • T. A. Mather
    • 2
  • R. G. Harrison
    • 3
  • R. S. Martin
    • 4
  1. 1.Lancaster Environment CentreLancaster UniversityLancasterUK
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  3. 3.Department of MeteorologyUniversity of ReadingReadingUK
  4. 4.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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