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Cimarelli, C.; Alatorre-Ibargüengoitia, M. A.; Aizawa, K.; Yokoo, A.; Diaz-Marina, A.; Iguchi, M.; Dingwell, D. B. (2016): Multiparametric observation of volcanic lightning: Sakurajima Volcano, Japan. In: Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 43, No. 9: pp. 4221-4228
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We recorded volcanic lightning generated by Vulcanian explosions at Sakurajima Volcano using a synchronized multiparametric array. Physical properties of lightning are related to plume dynamics, and associated electromagnetic field variations are revealed by video observations (high speed and normal speed) together with infrasound and high sampling rate magnetotelluric signals. Data show that volcanic lightning at Sakurajima mainly occurs in the plume gas thrust region at a few hundred meters above the crater rim, where the overpressure of the turbulent volcanic jets determines the electrification of particles generating a complex charge structure in the growing plume. Organization of charges may be achieved at later stages when the plume transitions from the jet phase to the convective phase. Comparison with atmospheric sounding and maximum plume height data show that the effect of hydrometeors on flash generation at Sakurajima is negligible and can be more prudently considered as an additional factor contributing to the electrification of volcanic plumes.