Volcanic Lightning?


So, my youngest is currently pretty nervous about everything going on in our area, and so one of our soothing before bed activities is to look up cool stuff – natural phenomena or interesting animals, you know. Anyway, tonight, we found out that Volcanic Lightning was a thing, and while we read an article about it, I don’t think he really understood what it was saying (he’s 8) but I also don’t know that I understand it well enough to break it down for him. Does anyone mind helping us both out and explain how it happens, and why?

In: Other

So lightning is formed from friction just like wooly socks on the carpet let you zap people, volcanic lightning is from friction in the cloud of debris coming from the eruption of the volcano.

When volcanos erupt, lots of volcanic ash and soot is thrown up into the air. When the ash gets thrown up, the ash particles crash into each other and make static electricity within the volcanic plume. Because there’s so much ash colliding, the static electricity is quite intense and so results in lightning bolts made purely of static electricity. This can only work if it’s super hot, which volcanos usually are.

Source: a slight understanding from high school

Here’s something from history that’s very similar and really interesting to tell him about. This happened during first storms in the great depression for the same reasons.

See #6 on this page.

Thank you all very much! Both he and I have a much better understanding of it now!