Characteristics of thunder and electromagnetic pulses from volcanic lightning at Bogoslof volcano, Alaska

  • 28 Accesses


We combine global detections of volcanic lightning with acoustic and hydroacoustic data to investigate novel indications of plume electrification in ground-based, geophysical data streams during the 2016–2017 eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska. Such signals offer additional ways to diagnose the occurrence of volcanic lightning and confirm whether eruptive activity is producing significant amounts of ash. We discuss three signatures of lightning activity: volcanic thunder, electromagnetic pulses arising from lightning-induced voltages in cabling, and hydroacoustic signals associated with volcanic lightning. Observations of these phenomena provide additional insights into volcanic lightning activity and reveal several periods of electrical activity that were not otherwise detected during the Bogoslof eruption.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Access options

Buy single article

Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.

US$ 39.95

Price includes VAT for USA

Subscribe to journal

Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.

US$ 199

This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13


  1. Anderson JF, Johnson JB, Steele AL, Ruiz MC, Brand BD (2018) Diverse eruptive activity revealed by acoustic and electromagnetic observations of the 14 July 2013 intense Vulcanian eruption of Tungurahua volcano, Ecuador. Geophys Res Lett 45:2976–2985

  2. Arechiga R, Stock M, Thomas R, Erives H, Rison W, Edens H, Lapierre J (2014) Location and analysis of acoustic infrasound pulses in lightning. Geophys Res Lett 41:4735–4744

  3. Arnold RT, Bass HE, Atchley AA (1984) Underwater sound from lightning strikes to water in the Gulf of Mexico. J Acoust Soc Am 76:320–322

  4. Assink JD, Evers LG, Holleman I, Paulssen H (2008) Characterization of infrasound from lightning. Geophys Res Lett 35:L15802

  5. Behnke SA, Thomas RJ, McNutt SR, Schneider DJ, Krehbiel PR, Rison W, Edens HE (2013) Observations of volcanic lightning during the 2009 eruption of redoubt volcano. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 259:214–234.

  6. Behnke SA, McNutt SR (2014) Using lightning observations as a volcanic eruption monitoring tool. Bull Volcanol 76:847–812.

  7. Behnke SA, Bruning EC (2015) Changes to the turbulent kinematics of a volcanic plume inferred from lightning data. Geophys Res Lett 42:4232–4239

  8. Behnke SA, Edens HE, Thomas RJ, Smith CM, McNutt SR, Van Eaton AR et al (2018) Investigating the origin of continual radio frequency impulses during explosive volcanic eruptions. J Geophys Res Atmos 123:4157–4174.

  9. Bohnenstiehl DR, Dziak RP, Matsumoto H, Lau T-KA (2013) Underwater acoustic records from the march 2009 eruption of Hunga Ha’apai-Hunga Tonga volcano in the Kingdom of Tonga. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 249:12–24

  10. Brekhovskikh LM (1980) Waves in layered media. Academic Press, New York

  11. Campus P, Christie D (2009) Worldwide observations of infrasonic waves. In: Le Pichon A, Blanc E, Hauchecorne A (eds) Infrasound monitoring for atmospheric studies. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 185–234

  12. Coombs ML, Wech AG, Haney MM, Lyons JJ, Schneider DJ, Schwaiger HF, Wallace KL, Fee D, Freymueller JT, Schaefer JR, Tepp G (2018) Short-term forecasting and detection of explosions during the 2016–2017 eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska. Front Earth Sci 6:122.

  13. Coombs M, Wallace K, Cameron C, Lyons J, Wech A, Angeli K, Cervelli P (2019) Overview, chronology, and impacts of the 2016–2017 eruption of Bogoslof volcano. Bull Volcanol, this issue.

  14. Dixon J, Stihler S, Power J, Haney M, Parker T, Searcy C, Prejean S (2013) Catalog of earthquake hypocenters at Alaskan volcanoes: January 1 through December 31, 2012. US Geol Surv Data Ser 789:84

  15. Fee D, Lyons J, Haney M, Wech A, Waythomas CF, Diefenbach A, Lopez T, Van Eaton AR, Schneider D (2020) Seismo-acoustic evidence for vent drying during shallow submarine eruptions at Bogoslof volcano, Alaska. Bull Volcanol.

  16. Haney MM, Van Eaton AR, Lyons JJ, Kramer RL, Fee D, Iezzi AM (2018) Volcanic thunder from explosive eruptions at Bogoslof volcano, Alaska. Geophys Res Lett 45:3429–3435

  17. Hill RD (1985) Investigation of lightning strikes to water surfaces. J Acoust Soc Am 78:2096–2099

  18. Hutchins ML, Holzworth RH, Rodger CJ, Brundell JB (2012) Far-field power of lightning strokes as measured by the world wide lightning location network. J Atmos Ocean Technol 29:1102–1110

  19. Iezzi AM, Schwaiger HF, Fee D, Haney MM (2019) Application of an updated atmospheric model to explore volcano infrasound propagation and detection in Alaska. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 371:192–205

  20. Johnson JB, Arechiga RO, Thomas RJ, Edens HE, Anderson J, Johnson R (2011) Imaging thunder. Geophys Res Lett 38:L19807

  21. Johnson JB, Anderson JF, Anthony RE, Sciotto M (2013) Detecting geyser activity with infrasound. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 256:105–117

  22. Lyons J, Iezzi A, Fee D, Schwaiger H, Wech A, Haney M (2020a) Infrasound generated by the 2016–2017 shallow submarine eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska. Bull Volcanol (part of the Bogoslof Topical Collection)

  23. Lyons JJ, Haney MM, Fee D, Wech AG, Waythomas CF (2020b) Infrasound from giant bubbles during explosive submarine eruptions. Nat Geosci 12:952–958.

  24. Mather TA, Harrison RG (2006) Electrification of volcanic plumes. Surv Geophys 27:387–432

  25. McNutt SR, Davis CM (2000) Lightning associated with the 1992 eruptions of crater peak, mount Spurr volcano, Alaska. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 102:45–65

  26. Olson JV, Szuberla CAL (2005) Distribution of wave packet sizes in microbarom wave trains observed in Alaska. J Acoust Soc Am 117:1032–1037

  27. Paolone M, Petrache E, Rachidi F, Nucci CA, Rakov VA, Uman MA, Jordan D, Rambo K, Jerauld J, Nyffeler M, Schoene J (2005) Lightning induced disturbances in buried cables – part II: experiment and model validation. IEEE Trans Electromagn Compat 47:509–520

  28. Petersen T, De Angelis S, Tytgat G, McNutt SR (2006) Local infrasound observations of large ash explosions at Augustine volcano, Alaska, during January 11–28, 2006. Geophys Res Lett 33:L12303

  29. Petrache E, Rachidi F, Paolone M, Nucci CA, Rakov VA, Uman MA (2005) Lightning induced disturbances in buried cables – part I: theory. IEEE Trans Electromagn Compat 47:498–508

  30. Said RK, Inan US, Cummins KL (2010) Long-range lightning geolocation using a VLF radio atmospheric waveform bank. J Geophys Res 115:D23108

  31. Schwaiger HF, Iezzi AM, Fee D (2020a) AVO-G2S: a modified, open-source ground-to-space atmospheric specification for infrasound modeling. Comput Geosci 125:90–97

  32. Schwaiger H, Lyons J, Iezzi A, Fee D, Haney M (2020b) Evolving infrasound detections from Bogoslof volcano, Alaska: Insights from forward modelling. Bull Volcanol this issue

  33. Szuberla CAL, Olson JV (2004) Uncertainties associated with parameter estimation in atmospheric infrasound arrays. J Acoust Soc Am 115:253–258

  34. Tepp G, Haney M (2019) Comparison of short-term seismic precursors and explosion parameters during the 2016–2017 Bogoslof eruption. Bull Volcanol 81:1–15.

  35. Thomas RJ, Krehbiel PR, Rison W, Aulich G, Edens H, McNutt SR, Tytgat G, Clark E (2007) Electrical activity during the 2006 Mount St. Augustine volcanic eruptions. Science 315:1097

  36. Van Eaton AR, Amigo A, Bertin D, Mastin LG, Giacosa RE, Gonzalez J et al (2016) Volcanic lightning and plume behavior reveal evolving hazards during the April 2015 eruption of Calbuco volcano, Chile. Geophys Res Lett 43:3563–3571

  37. Van Eaton A, Schneider DJ, Smith CM, Haney MM, Lyons JJ, Said R, Fee D, Holzworth RH, Mastin LG (2020) Did ice-charging generate volcanic lightning during the 2016-2017 eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska? Bull Volcanol this issue

  38. Wech A, Tepp G, Lyons J, Haney M (2018) Using earthquakes, T waves, and infrasound to investigate the eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska. Geophys Res Lett 45:6918–6925.

Download references


The authors wish to thank the World Wide Lightning Location Network (, a collaboration among over 50 universities and institutions, for providing lightning location data used in this paper. We acknowledge Vaisala, Inc. ( for providing lightning location and peak current data from the GLD360 network. Seismic and infrasound data used in this study are available at the IRIS-DMC. Information on the availability of lightning data is given in Van Eaton et al. (2020, this issue). Hydrophone data are available from the NOAA Pacific Marine Environment Lab. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Author information

Correspondence to Matthew M. Haney.

Additional information

This paper constitutes part of a topical collection: The 2016–17 shallow submarine eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska

Editorial responsibility: K. Wallace; Special Issue Editor N. Fournier

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Haney, M.M., Van Eaton, A.R., Lyons, J.J. et al. Characteristics of thunder and electromagnetic pulses from volcanic lightning at Bogoslof volcano, Alaska. Bull Volcanol 82, 15 (2020) doi:10.1007/s00445-019-1349-y

Download citation


  • Volcano monitoring
  • Volcanic lightning
  • Explosive volcanism
  • Infrasound