Lightning During the Eruptions at Sakurajima Volcano, Japan

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In May 2015 our volcano-lightning team spent about 2 weeks at the Sakurajima volcano observing electrical activity during many explosive eruptions. The explosive eruptions sent ash into the atmosphere reaching between 2 and 5 km MSL. Most of the eruptions produced lightning and electrical activity. Our measurements included electric, photographic, seismic, and ascustic. The atmospheric-electricity instruments included a 10-station-LMA, slow antenna, fast antenna, and broad-band-RF. Inaddition to standard photography and video, we had infrared video, low-light video, and high-speed video. The slow antenna showed that typically the predominant charge was negative, but at times it was positive. The larger eruptions show the continual electrical discharges that begin coincident within tenths of a second as the explosion. We have sensed these small discharges in many other volcanic eruptions.

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Presented at the AGU Fall Meeting on December 16, 2015 in San Francisco, CA