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Title: Volcanic lightning and plume behavior reveal evolving hazards during the April 2015 eruption of Calbuco Volcano, Chile

Soon after the onset of an eruption, model forecasts of ash dispersal are used to mitigate the hazards to aircraft, infrastructure, and communities downwind. However, it is a significant challenge to constrain the model inputs during an evolving eruption. Here we demonstrate that volcanic lightning may be used in tandem with satellite detection to recognize and quantify changes in eruption style and intensity. Using the eruption of Calbuco volcano in southern Chile on 22 and 23 April 2015, we investigate rates of umbrella cloud expansion from satellite observations, occurrence of lightning, and mapped characteristics of the fall deposits. Our remote sensing analysis gives a total erupted volume that is within uncertainty of the mapped volume (0.56 ± 0.28 km3 bulk). Furthermore, observations and volcanic plume modeling further suggest that electrical activity was enhanced both by ice formation in the ash clouds >10 km above sea level and development of a low-level charge layer from ground-hugging currents.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [1] ;  [5] ;  [5] ;  [4] ;  [6]
  1. U.S. Geological Survey, Vancouver, WA (United States)
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  3. Servicio Nacional de Geologia y Mineria, Temuco (Chile); Univ. de Chile, Santiago (Chile)
  4. Servicio Nacional de Geologia y Mineria, Temuco (Chile)
  5. Servicio Geologico Minero Argentino, Rio Negro (Argentina)
  6. Univ. of Oxford, Oxford (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 43; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States