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.

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

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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