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Earth115 M10 - Soon after the eruptions Thomas and his crew...

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Earth115 M&W 9:35 Feb. 27 th , 2007 Article Summary #5 “Volcanic Lightning” By: Eric Jaffe February, 2007 smithsonian.com In the article, Jaffe explains how researchers were able to better determine what causes lightning to strike after a volcanic eruption. After being silent for 20 years, Mount St. Augustine erupted in January 2006 and spewed out lightning. Not all volcanoes create lightning. It is a natural phenomenon that has not been understood very well by scientists for decades but researchers were able to help better understand how this phenomenon works. They were hoping to be at the right place at the right time with all of the proper equipment. The leader of the group was led by physicist, Ronald Thomas of New Mexico Tech. Thomas was thousands of miles away from the volcano but was determined to measure the eruptions and quickly realized that he was running out of time.
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Unformatted text preview: Soon after the eruptions, Thomas and his crew were off to Homer Alaska which is 60 miles away from the volcano and began probing and measuring the lightning activity. They recorded some of the best observations of volcanic lighting ever which led to some new discoveries in understanding volcanoes. With this new data, scientist believe there are two types of volcanic lightning during an eruption, the first that has been understood for quite some time, occurs in the volcanoes smoke plume shortly after the eruption. The second (new discovery) type of lightning is caused by the spewing of magma, ash and rocks which in short create a great electrical charge that continuously surrounds the mouth of the volcano, causing the charge to spark. This is a revolutionary observation for geophysicists for they can now better understand both types of volcanic lightning....
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