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Vossen, Caron E. J. ORCID: 0000-0001-7090-1857; Cimarelli, Corrado ORCID: 0000-0002-5707-5930; Bennett, Alec J.; Schmid, Markus; Kueppers, Ulrich; Ricci, Tullio; Taddeucci, Jacopo (2022): The electrical signature of mafic explosive eruptions at Stromboli volcano, Italy. Scientific Reports, 12: 9049. ISSN 2045-2322

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Volcanic lightning is commonly observed in explosive volcanic eruptions of Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) > 2 and can be detected remotely providing real-time volcano monitoring information. However, little is known about the electrical activity accompanying the lower-magnitude spectrum of explosive eruptions, often involving mafic magmas. We narrow this gap in knowledge by presenting the electrical signature of the explosive activity (VEI ≤ 1) of Stromboli volcano (Italy) recorded by an electrostatic thunderstorm detector. The persistent eruptive activity of mild Strombolian explosions is occasionally interrupted by larger-scale major explosions and paroxysmal events.

Here, we present electrical observations of three major explosions and unprecedented measurements of the 3 July 2019 paroxysm. The electrical signals of the major explosions show apparent similarities, with movements of charge and tens of electrical discharges, arising the question of whether these observations could be used to supplement the classification scheme of explosions on Stromboli. The electrical signals from the 3 July 2019 paroxysm exceed those from the major explosions in amplitude, discharge rate and complexity, showing characteristic variations during different phases of the eruption.

These results show that also impulsive lower-magnitude explosions generate detectable electrical activity, which holds promise for monitoring low VEI activity at mafic volcanoes.

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