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From: National Science Foundation Update <nsf-update@xxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2009 15:11:58 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Tornado-like Rotation is Key to Understanding Volcanic Plumes
Tornado-like Rotation is Key to Understanding Volcanic Plumes
A 200-year-old report by a sea captain and photographs of the 2008 eruption of Mount Chaiten are helping scientists better understand strong volcanic plumes.
In a paper published this week in the journal Nature, the scientists show that the spontaneous formation of a "volcanic mesocyclone"--a rotating, column-shaped vortex--causes the volcanic plume to rotate on its axis.
The rotation, in turn, triggers a sheath of lightning and creates waterspouts or dust ...
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