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Scientists Find That Lightning Is Good Indicator Of Volcanic Activity

Date:
March 29, 2007
Source:
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Summary:
Although it's been more than a year since Mount Augustine had its memorable eruption, work continues for University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers. Researchers recorded a "spectacular lightning sequence" during a volcanic eruption.

Following the initial eruptions of Alaska's Mount Augustine Jan. 11 and 13, 2006, scientists found that lightning was produced and two electromagnetic lightning detectors were set up about 60 miles away in Homer.
Credit: Image courtesy of the Alaska Volcano Observatory

Although it's been more than a year since Mount Augustine had its memorable eruption, work continues for University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers. The work of Alaska Volcano Observatory employees from UAF's Geophysical Institute will be appearing in the upcoming issue of the journal Science.

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The article documents electrical activity that occurred during the January 2006 eruption of Mount Augustine. While it has long been known that volcanic eruptions can produce vigorous lightning, there are few direct observations of the phenomena, states the article.

Following the initial eruptions of Jan. 11 and 13, 2006, two of which produced lightning, two electromagnetic lightning detectors were set up in Homer about 60 miles from Augustine. A couple of days later, the volcano erupted again, with the first of four eruptions producing a "spectacular lightning sequence."

The conclusions, according to Volcano Seismologist Steve McNutt, who is a research professor of geophysics at UAF and co-author of the article, is that in addition to the current means that seismologists employ in determining volcanic eruptions. As a result of this research, plans are under way to install a simple lightning detector on Mount Cleveland this summer.

Along with Steve McNutt's work, Guy Tytgat and Edward Clark from the Alaska Volcano Observatory at UAF contributed technical support to a research team from New Mexico Tech, who designed and built the instruments. Six faculty and student representatives, led by Ron Thomas from the Langmuir Laboratory are listed as co-authors of the article, titled "Electrical activity during the 2006 Mt. Augustine volcanic eruptions."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alaska Fairbanks. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alaska Fairbanks. "Scientists Find That Lightning Is Good Indicator Of Volcanic Activity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070329075134.htm>.
University of Alaska Fairbanks. (2007, March 29). Scientists Find That Lightning Is Good Indicator Of Volcanic Activity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070329075134.htm
University of Alaska Fairbanks. "Scientists Find That Lightning Is Good Indicator Of Volcanic Activity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070329075134.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

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