Opendata, web and dolomites


VOLcanic lighTning: a lAb and fIeld ApproaCh

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 VOLTAIC project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the VOLTAIC project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "VOLTAIC" about.

ouml    easily    mitigation    image    kull    active    camera    campaigns    dynamics    electrical    unravel    tool    keeping    lab    quantitative    bridge    plume    relationships    eruption    explosive    little    discharges    iceland    lightning    university    theory    database    volcanoes    laboratory    eruptions    sakurajima    frequently    constrained    temperature    complete    speed    cameras    hence    velocity    hazard    volcanic    experimental    model    preventing    mechanisms    first    charging    secondment    globalized    since    eyjafjallaj    plumes    lmu    permanently    combine    light    japan    link    microphysics    scope    observations    fragility    evidenced    hamburg    derive    gap    thunderstorm    impacts    proving    generating    numerical    2010    advantage    interpretation    disastrous    visible    munich    coupling    forefront    vulnerability    society    physical    thermal    occurrence    monitoring    setup    particles    concentration    ash    segregation    decades    simulate    weather    structure    volcano    economic    detectable    socio   

Project "VOLTAIC" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: 80539

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Germany [DE]
 Project website
 Total cost 171˙460 €
 EC max contribution 171˙460 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2015
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-09-01   to  2018-08-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

Since the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption in Iceland, which evidenced the fragility and vulnerability of our globalized society to disastrous socio-economic impacts of volcanoes, ash monitoring has become a priority of the European Commission. In this scope, lightning, observed in numerous eruptions, and easily detectable in all weather conditions, is proving strong potential as a novel monitoring tool of ash plumes. Although thunderstorm lightning have been studied for decades, little is known on the mechanisms of ash particles charging and how discharges occur in explosive eruptions, thus preventing to link lightning occurrence with ash plume characteristics. The aim of this project is hence to combine laboratory and field studies to advance our knowledge of electrical properties of ash plumes. I will take advantage of a unique experimental setup developed at LMU-Munich to bridge the gap between physical theory and field observations. Generating volcanic lightning in the lab under constrained conditions, and comparing them with field observations, I will derive quantitative relationships between the plume characteristics (temperature, velocity, and ash concentration), the charging and the segregation of ash particles, and the occurrence of electrical discharges. Two field campaigns are planned for this scope at the permanently active Sakurajima volcano (Japan), where volcanic lightning is frequently observed. High-speed visible-light cameras will be used to measure lightning while a thermal camera will unravel the plume structure and dynamics. In the scope of a secondment at Hamburg University, I will use a numerical model to simulate the plume microphysics and will implement image-processing methods to build the first complete database coupling plume and lightning characteristics. Through this project we aim at the first quantitative interpretation of volcanic lightning with the scope of keeping Europe at the forefront of volcano research and hazard mitigation.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Keri Nicoll, Martin Airey, Corrado Cimarelli, Alec Bennett, Giles Harrison, Damien Gaudin, Karen Aplin, Kuang Liang Koh, Marco Knuever, Graeme Marlton
First In Situ Observations of Gaseous Volcanic Plume Electrification
published pages: 3532-3539, ISSN: 0094-8276, DOI: 10.1029/2019gl082211
Geophysical Research Letters 46/6 2019-05-15
2019 Damien Gaudin, Corrado Cimarelli
The electrification of volcanic jets and controlling parameters: A laboratory study
published pages: 69-80, ISSN: 0012-821X, DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2019.02.024
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 513 2019-05-15
2018 J. S. Méndez Harper, C. Cimarelli, J. Dufek, D. Gaudin, R. J. Thomas
Inferring Compressible Fluid Dynamics From Vent Discharges During Volcanic Eruptions
published pages: 7226-7235, ISSN: 0094-8276, DOI: 10.1029/2018GL078286
Geophysical Research Letters 45/14 2019-05-28

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