At https://phys.org/news/2023-06-tonga-hunga-eruption-intense-lightning.html … the January 2022 eruption of the Hunga volcano in Tonga continues to break records. It is now recognised it created a ‘super-charged‘ thunderstorm that produced the most intense lightning ever recorded. The caveat there is that only means as far as records go back – a couple of hundred years or so. Or less. There were nearly 200,000 lightning flashes in the volcanic plume, throughout the eruption – peaking at 2600 flashes every minute.
It generated a plume of volcanic ash, water, and magmatic gases that were at least 36 miles high , roughly 58 km. The eruption triggered a massive thunderstorm as a result of high energy magma exploding through the shallow ocean waters near Tonga. Molten rock vapourised the sea water, which rose up in a great plume, forming electrifying alliances between ash, super cooled water, and hail stones. There was 500,000 electrical pulses – with some of the lightning recorded at heights of 20 to 30 miles above the earth. It turns out that volcanic eruptions can create more exreme lightning than any other kind of storm on earth. What captured the attention of some scientists were the concentric rings of lightning centred on the volcano. It expanded and contracted over time. They are now called lightning rings. The plume also injected so much mass into the upper atmosphere that it sent out ripples in the volcanic cloud, like dropping pebbles in a pond of water.