Volcanologists from the Ludwig Maximilian University (Munich), led by Dr. Corrado Simarelli, claim to have finally uncovered the secret of lightning that occurs during volcanic eruptions.
In the course of one of the studies, it was found that under the pressure of enormous pressure, ash particles ejected from the crater accumulate static electricity in flight. However, unlike ordinary lightning, volcanic lightning does not discharge its charge to the surface, but to the side and even upward.
The second study showed that ash clouds, falling into the upper atmosphere, come into contact with ice particles, accumulate in it with the formation of electric charges. In this case, the ice particles, as a result of friction against each other, generate an electric charge in the form of lightning along the path of the ice particles through the ash cloud.
As it turned out, volcanic lightning can form even during small eruptions as the ash emitted into the atmosphere builds up a static charge. During large-scale eruptions, ash clouds high above the Earth combine with ice crystals and can create truly giant flares against the backdrop of an erupting volcano.