A volcanic eruption in 2020 led to hours-long thunderstorm

There was lightning during the Taal eruption. Credit: etrhamjr

A study conducted by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Vaisala Inc., was published yesterday in the Geological Society of America's journal Geology. "It's the perfect storm, it can create lightning that is detected around the world," says lead author Alexa Van Eaton.

The January 2020 eruption of Taal volcano in the Philippines gave off thousands of cloud-to-ground lightning strikes. Scientists were able to see the behavior of the eruption. The electrical activity lit up our sensors when the volcanic ash plume rose high enough to freeze.

"We can receive the lightning data super-fast because the radio waves produced by lightning travel at the speed of light," says Van Eaton. Satellite images and hundreds of photos were shared on social media by the scientists. The eruption took place in a major urban area, so people posted pictures of volcanic lightning as it was happening. Those photos and videos show a region at the base of the umbrella cloud.

The Taal volcano in the Philippines released hazardous amounts of volcanic ash and gases in January 2020. The time-series animation shows the spread and growth of the volcanic plume from 12 January 2020 to 13 January 2020. The image was created using OMPS data from the GES DISC. The animation is based on Himawari imagery. Credit: Japan Meteorological Agency.

There are camera perspectives from all angles that can give a better picture of an eruption. Understanding the evolution of volcanic lightning helps us identify the early warning signs of ash dangers. She says that studies like this one only give a broad-brush picture of an eruption. The work of local geologists who know the area like the backs of their hands can't be replaced.

Snapshots of the Taal volcano eruption were posted. Credit goes to shuajo on the social media site.

The sparks they observed in photos of the ash plume are an area of interest for future study. "We were surprised to find the high-altitude umbrella cloud crawling with these tiny, blue streamers, which are distinct from lightning because they are discharges of cold plasma, rather than hot." It's still a mystery how these little ribbons of ionized air relate to powerful lightning.

A volcanic eruption from the submarine volcano in the island nation of Tonga occurred on January 15, 2022. A giant ash cloud spread out over the ocean and produced record-breaking amounts of volcanic lightning. The Geology paper explains how water-rich volcanic plumes become charged.

The January 2020 eruption of Taal volcano in the Philippines was caused by Eruption dynamics. There is a book titled "10130/G49490.1."

The journal has information about geology.

A volcanic eruption in 2020 led to hours-long thunderstorm.

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