|Why do volcanic clouds of ash cause lightening
(like on Mt Pinatubo)?
lightning is dependent on the existence of ways to
produce a separation of charges on a large
scale...lightning is the coming together of
regions of positive and negative charge... this
develops when you take a piece of rubber and rub
wool against it...or take a glass rod and rub a
silk cloth on it...this develops negative or
same thing happens in a
volcanic cloud....the tiny particles become
charged and the turbulent winds bring a cloud of
positive charges against a cloud of negative
charges and ...WHAM, lightning !!!
read more about this in some books on
volcanos...look up volcanic lightning.
When a volcano erupts it discharges billions and
billions of tiny particulates into the atmosphere
about it.Some of those particulates can interact
with the already existing atmosphere above the
volcano and produce massive thunderstorms in a
very short period of time. Lightening is
sometimes so severe above a volcano eruption
because a combination of the intense heat plus
billions of particulates can result in a very dry,
static atmosphere above the eruption, which
sometimes produces severe lightening.
Because volcanic clouds are tiny bits of dust,
they can rub together as they blow by each other
in the cloud. This acts just like rubbing your
feet on the carpet and touching the doorknob on
the other side of the room. You build up static
electricity. The same thing happens inside of the
cloud but on a much larger scale so instead of a
tiny spark, you get giant sparks--lightning.
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