Infrasonic acoustic waves generated by fast air heating in sprite cores

Caitano L. Da Silva, Victor P. Pasko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Acceleration, expansion, and branching of sprite streamers can lead to concentration of high electrical currents in regions of space, that are observed in the form of bright sprite cores. Driven by this electrical current, a series of chemical processes take place in the sprite plasma. Excitation, followed by quenching of excited electronic states leads to energy transfer from charged to neutral species. The consequence is heating and expansion of air leading to emission of infrasonic acoustic waves. Results indicate that ≳0.01 Pa pressure perturbations on the ground, observed in association with sprites, can only be produced by exceptionally strong currents in sprite cores, exceeding 2 kA. Key Points Coupling of plasma and neutral gas dynamics in sprites Mechanism of infrasound radiation from sprites Dependence of infrasound amplitudes on sprite currents

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1789-1795
Number of pages7
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 16 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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