Month: February 2017

The Maars of Pinacate

Re-posted courtesy of

International Space Station
International Space Station

El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar is a geologic wonderland for volcanologists. It should also be a laboratory for study of the Electric Earth.

Pinacate is a monogenic volcanic field in Sonora, Mexico that lies just south of the Arizona border, seventy miles east of where the Colorado River empties into the Sea of Cortez. It is a protected Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage site.

Monogenic volcanic fields, meaning each eruptive feature in the field is the product of a single, short eruption of unique magma, are not uncommon in North America. In fact, Pinacate is one of fifty that dot the landscape from central Mexico to Colorado. What makes Pinacate special is its pristine nature, for it is largely untouched by human hands, or the effects of severe erosion.

edward_abbeyIt’s location in the desiccated Altar Desert of Sonora is the reason it has remained pristine. As Edward Abbey wrote of the Altar: “This region is the bleakest, flattest, hottest, grittiest, grimmest, dreariest, ugliest, most useless, most senseless desert of them all. It is the villain among badlands, most wasted of wastelands, most foreboding of forbidden realms.” In other words, it was one of Abbey’s favorite places.

Geologists insist Pinacate is dormant, but recently so. It’s last eruption is dated a mere ten thousand years ago. But local lore of the Tohono O’odham people, descendants of the ancient Pueblo culture known as Hohokam, insist there have been two minor eruptions in the last century, one in 1928, and again in 1934. Seismographic records don’t bear this out, say geologists, indicating no seismic event associated with volcanic activity was recorded at the time.

stinkbug_0053Its many lava flows and tephra beds portray the Pinacate as the result of three volcanic periods. First it developed as a shield volcano, raising the mountain that gives the field its name.

Pinacate is derived from the Aztec word for black beetle, and is commonly used for the desert stink bug. Identity with the mountain is understandable since stink bugs hold their rear high and emit a foul odor.

The next period brought blooms of pyroclastic eruption that left over five-hundred volcanic vents and cinder cones across 770-square-miles.

Its final phase created several maar craters. The Pinacate is best known for maars and the rings of tuff they create. There are about a dozen maars and tuff rings in the Pinacate.

The crown jewel is El Elegante. One mile in diameter, with steep sides sloping to a depth of 800 feet, it looks like a giant bottle cap was pressed into the earth to leave this depression. Its size, symmetry and scalloped edges earn ‘The Elegant One’ its name.


Maars are one expression of a diatreme volcano. Their creation is brief and explosive. Magma rises beneath moisture held in an aquifer, sub-surface stream, or permafrost, and vaporizes the water in a series of blasts that last from a few hours to several weeks.  A shallow crater with a bowl floor and a low raised rim is left, over a rock-filled fracture called a diatreme. Typically, maars fill with water following eruption, leaving a lake. The maars of Pinacate are dry and accessible.


No certainty as to formation is truly known in consensus science. The inverted cone shape of a maar diatreme has been generally assumed to form by shallow explosions first, followed by progressively deeper explosions.

The explosions are thought to be caused by the instant vaporization of ground water when it contacts hot magma. If deep explosions occurred first, they would hollow out a wide void, not a conical vent.

But the shallow-first theory should produce ejecta of shallow rock covered by later deposits of deeper rock. Examination of maars show that deep rock fragments are well mixed with shallow rock, implying explosions occurred throughout all depths at once.

Geologist Greg Valentine, a professor at the University at Buffalo in New York, and James White, an associate professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand, have created a new model to account for the jumbled order of explosions. Their model, published online Sept. 18 by the journal Geology, suggests individual explosions are relatively small, and shallow explosions are more likely to cause eruptions than deep explosions.

The model did not include subsurface electrical discharge as a possible causation. Perhaps it should.

If it walks like a duck…

The likeness of Pinacate’s craters to Lunar craters made it a perfect training ground for Apollo astronauts. It’s also a reason the area should be of interest to the study of Electric Earth phenomena. Close inspection of craters and other features in Pinacate reveals more than a casual resemblance to the craters of the Moon. Let’s take a look.

Rim Craters…

Beginning with El Elegante, the Google Earth image below shows a rim crater at the four-o’clock position – the only flaw in its beautiful symmetry.

El Elegante, top view
Rim Crater, side view

It is explained as an older cinder cone that was split in half by the maar eruption.

Rim craters also occur on other maars in the Pinacate. In fact, more than half of the maars have features that appear to be rim craters. Perhaps it is normal for maars to occur at the edge of older volcanic vents – perhaps the older vent plays a role in creating the maar. Or they may be what they look like, a feature caused by a filament of electrical discharge.

Rim craters occur with such regularity on rocky bodies in our solar system it is statistically absurd to think they are caused by chance impacts. They are a known feature of electrical discharge, as filaments of spark will form craters within craters, and often ‘stick’ to the rim of a crater previously formed, leaving rim craters.

The maar shown below is 0.9 miles wide and 250 feet deep. It also displays scalloped edges and a  large rim crater at the five-o’clock position. Another small rim crater is at the nine-o’clock position (all overhead images are oriented with North up, at the 12-o’clock position).

Most confusing, assuming the consensus science view of how maars are created, is the small tuff rings in the floor of the crater beneath the large rim crater. In this case the rim features can’t be the remnant of an older cider cone since they could not possibly have pre-existed the maar eruption. It must be the remnant of events that followed the sequence of eruptions that made the maar – but where is the debris from this later event?


Side View of Rim Crater

This maar, 2400 feet in diameter by 50 feet deep, at half past six-o’clock, has three apparent rim craters blanketed by an inflow of red ash, as if the event flattened the cinder cone next to it by pulling it in.


The next images show a rim crater at six-o’clock in a primary crater that is 2,600 feet in diameter by 150 feet deep. The triangular wedge is actually a slice from a pie-shaped depression at the rim.


The next images are of a maar 3400 feet in diameter by six hundred feet deep. It shows a rim crater at eleven-o’clock. Grey ‘ejecta’ blankets the rim crater. But the side view shows the rim crater has a steep, conic depression below the grey material.

The grey ejecta is obviously associated with the maar and blankets the slopes and lava flow of the red cinder cones nearby. This appears to be the case with the other maars, indicating they occurred in the latest series of eruptive events. However, the question should be asked whether the material was blown-out, or sucked-in by the event that made the crater.


The grey blanket is formed into dunes (see top center of photo above). Dunes exhibit a gentle slope to windward, and a steep reverse slope to leeward, suggesting at least the final winds of this dramatic event were directed inward to the crater.

Cerro Colorado…

The best example of a rim crater in the Pinacate is Cerro Colorado. Thought to be the result of multiple blasts though several vents, the main crater is 3,200 feet across, with a canted rim. The lopsided rim is thought to have been created by prevailing wind depositing ejected material preferentially to the south, or because subsequent explosions caused the north side of the rim to collapse, depending on which consensus theory is chosen. Neither provides a satisfactory explanation of the rim’s appearance.

The lopsided rim of  Cerro Colorado
Large rim crater at Cerro Colorado

On closer look, it could also be interpreted that material was drawn in, the way a tornado draws ground winds to it, to create the lopsided rim. The neat, even edges and compact symmetry of the aureole around the rim appears to be caused by in-flowing winds rather than several explosive outward blasts.

Rim Crater is at 11 o’clock

In the next image, along the crater rim can be seen layers of deposition, consistent with the effects of winds being drawn inward to the crater.


The Electric Volcano…

There is no question that Pinacate is a volcanic field. The lava flows, ash and tuff attest to that. We see active volcanoes around the world. The Ukinrek eruptions on the Alaska Peninsula in 1977 created two maar craters.

USGS – Ukinrek Eruption

The largest of these maars, now filled with water to form a lake, erupted for ten days to create a crater 1,000 foot wide. The Photos above show the eruption and resulting maar.

The largest Pinacate maars are one mile in diameter. The largest known maar on Earth is on Alaska’s Seward peninsula, and is five miles wide. The magnitude of the Pinacate and Seward Peninsula events dwarf the Ukinrek, or any other eruptions seen in historical times.

Consensus science does not explore the electrical nature of volcanoes, and the potential effects of an intensified electric field. They should be interpreted with electromagnetic effects in mind to understand them fully.

If lightning can occur in the sky, why not in the ground?

A capacitor stores electrical charge up to a point, and then lets go, like a dam breaking. It’s called dielectric breakdown, and sparks are the result; sparks are the flood of current through the dam. Lightning is one example of a spark we’ve all seen, but there are several types of electric discharge to consider.

Each type represents a flow of current, electrons and/or ions in an electric field. What primarily differentiates the type of discharge are polarity and surface features of the electrodes, the voltage and current density and the medium the current travels through.

Our atmosphere carries an electric field. The atmospheric field varies widely – from night-to-day and summer-to-winter – between 100 volts per meter vertically in clear weather, to orders of magnitude stronger during thunderstorms.

Normally the atmosphere carries a minor fair weather current of one pico-amp per square meter. This tiny current is thought to be a return current caused by lightning around the world, diffused throughout the atmosphere.

We don’t notice what’s happening electrically in our atmosphere normally, because we live on the earth’s surface in an equipotential layer. We don’t notice, that is, until a thunderstorm arrives.

NOAA Image

Lightning from a thunderstorm has no ‘electrode’ in the sky. It comes from accumulations of charge in the clouds – pools of electrons, or ions, like the accumulated charge on a capacitor plate.

Temperature and pressure moved by shearing winds take the place of the plates in segregating regions of charge.

A study using interferometer  and Doppler Radar to correlate lightning with updraft and downdraft winds showed that lightning avoids the updraft core (red arrow in the image) and forms in regions of weaker winds around the updraft. As a storm intensifies and the updraft speeds up, lightning frequency dramatically intensifies around the updraft.

James Dye, a researcher on the study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado said the findings were a surprise. The massive accumulation of charge in thunderstorms is believed by consensus science to result from static buildup caused by ice formation and collisions in the fast updraft region, so they expected to see lightning there. Instead they found the lightning surrounds the updraft.

Consensus science always requires collisions of some sort to explain electrical phenomena. Physical processes such as induction don’t seem to be included in their scientific toolkit. However, fast updraft winds are likely motivated by electric current in the storm in the first place, so it is not surprising in an electric atmosphere that positive ions in a powerful updraft would collect negative charge around the updraft column, which is where they found lightning to initiate.

220px-Lightnings_sequence_2_animationThe study indicates updraft winds won’t produce much lightning until they reach 10 to 20 mph. Then strike frequency escalates with updraft speed. From 20 to 50 mph wind speeds, lightning frequency might be 5 to 20 strikes per minute, whereas above 90 mph, the flash rate can exceed one strike per second.

In a consensus scientists mind, this can only mean one thing: the ice is colliding faster! Back in the real world, the updraft should be recognized as a current, with faster winds producing higher charge density.

In any case, the charged layers in the cloud, and the thin, flashing filament we see in common cloud-to-ground lightning, is only part of the event. There is also buildup of positive charge on the ground. The ground charge forms as a pool of positive ions over the surface of the land and its features, accumulating in the highest concentration at high points. The positive ions form when electrons are stripped away from air and surface features by the electric field.

The lightning bolt initiates when the negative charge invades the air below with filaments of charge called leaders. They zig-zag downward in stepped segments while the ground charge reaches up in a filament of positive ions called a streamer. When leader and streamer meet, the channel is complete and dumps the negative cloud charge to ground.

The ionic ground charge follows, ions being heavy and therefore slower than electrons, rushing up the channel at 60,000 miles per second in what is called a return stroke. It’s the return stroke we see emitting light from particle collisions in the channel. Return strokes often repeat as new charge pools and discharges, producing multiple flashes until charges equalize.

It all happens very fast. You can’t see these charges moving around and pooling, but you can feel it. It’s called wind.

Another type of lightning is Positive lightning, from buildup of layers of positive ions in the tops of thunderclouds, which create arcs more powerful by a factor of 100 than common lightning between ground and the negatively charged cloud bottom. Positive lightning also travels farther …

The 200 Mile Lightning Bolt.  A typical lightning bolt is about 3 miles long. This Oklahoma storm produced a record lightning bolt that traveled 200 miles across blue sky.

The longest lasting lightning was recorded in France, at 7.74 seconds. Typically, lightning will pulse several times, but the total duration is less than .2 seconds.

These record setters show that lightning can scale by orders of magnitude. In fact, we know no limit to how large it can scale.

So what does all this have to do with Volcanoes?

Lightning is seen not only in thunderstorms, but in snowstorms, hurricanes, intense forest fires, surface nuclear detonations and – you guessed it, volcanic eruptions. There are two regions to consider in electric volcanoes. Above and below the ground.

Above, they are integral to the Earth-Sky circuit. A volcanic plume is a dusty plasma – pyroclastic ash mixed with ionized gases. How such a plume might increase the charge density between Earth and sky is unknown, but powerful volcanic lightning is a known occurrence.

Volcanic eruptions throw hot, pyroclastic material into the sky.  The volume of scorching hot cloud that erupts upward is not filled by the erupting gases alone. Ground wind necessarily flows inward to fill the cloud from below.


At right is a depiction of how a nuclear air-burst detonation is designed to destroy a city. The sudden expansion of gases created by the blast rise up leaving a rarefied region. Inward flowing ground winds reach the speed of an F-5 tornado, 300 mph, filling the vacuum created beneath the rising fireball, and leveling anything in its path.

A very large volcanic plume can have the same effect, drawing winds inward at ground level. This seems the more likely explanation for the lopsided rim and even, circular aureole of Cerro Colorado. It may also explain why maar craters, in general, have characteristically small amounts of ‘ejecta’ concentrated around their rims.

But beyond the kinetic effects of the plume, the rising column of ionic material will act in the same fashion as the updraft in a thunderstorm, generating lightning around the column. At the mouth of the erupting vent, one can imagine the current flow drawing ionic charge to it from the surrounding land. This may be why rim craters occur where they do, at the boundary of the rising plume.

2885354673_67031a2ff0_nConsensus science has concluded there are two forms of volcanic lightning. Researchers led by Corrado Cimarelli, a volcanologist at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, studied Sakurajima volcano in Japan, and concluded ash particles are responsible for building static electricity that discharges near ground level, as they reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

A separate study, also published in Geophysical Research Letters of the April 2015 eruption of Calbuco volcano in Chile, discovered lightning  striking 60 miles from the eruption, from 12 miles above Earth. The scientists concluded the thinning ash cloud formed ice that rubbed together to produce lightning like they say a thundercloud does.

The consensus narrative always needs a collision and static build-up of charge. Why this is so is hard to understand. No doubt rubbing and static charges do occur, but there is already an atmospheric electric field to work with, moving electric charge and oodles of ionization in these events, whether volcanic or thunderstorms.

They occur in the dielectric atmospheric layer between ground and the charged plasma of the ionosphere. By assuming electrical discharge is only occurring due to localized static charge is to miss the bigger picture, that Earth is just one device in a circuit.

Ground Blast…

Whether discharge comes only from the plume, or also within the ground is the second part of the electric volcano story.

We don’t know much about the currents within Earth’s inner regions. We know the crust carries current. Ground current is why we ‘ground’ electrical devices, so a voltage potential can’t build between the ground and the device and generate a spark, or worse, a dead person who’s last act on earth was to touch the device.

Ground Induced Current, or GIC, is current in soil, rock and water, as well as metal fences, pipelines and wire. It’s induced by atmospheric current, because the two are coupled.


Solar activity is a forcing influence on atmospheric current, increasing the dangers of GIC during solar storms.

The Carrington Event of 1859 was a solar flare that, among other things, produced especially energetic aurora’s and induced current in telegraph wires. Many lines burned-up, telegraph operators were shocked and showered with sparks. Some reported the telegraph had so much current, they continued working without a power source after generators were disconnected.

th-10GIC may not be the only source of electrical current on and under the ground. After all, the rush of lava and gases through vents in Earth’s crust would seem to require a lot of things rubbing and colliding. It seems necessary this would build static charge and cause discharges deep within the earth, even by consensus reasoning.

Even more likely, it’s electrical discharges deep within the Earth that heats the magma, vaporizes rock and causes eruptions in the first place. It’s entirely unknown what the voltage drop is across the layers of crust and mantle to the center of the planet, but given those huge auroral currents at the poles and the puffed up magnetosphere around Earth, one should assume it is rather large.

Pinacate and other volcanic fields display features Electric Universe Theory has ascribed to electrical phenomena on other planets and moons in the solar system. Since they appear on this planet too, they need to be interpreted in the context of an Electric Earth.

One look at the Delta-Wye configuration at the bottom of this maar in the image below, and the question – is Earth Electric – is, perhaps answered.

In three-phase electrical transmission, delta-wye connections are used to connect an ungrounded system, such as an overhead transmission line, to a grounded system, such as a transformer. The delta configuration is the ungrounded connection of three phases of current, whereas the wye connects the three phases to ground at the center of the wye.

Note the Delta has three tendrils that lead to rim craters.


A geo-botanical feature at the bottom of a volcanic crater imitating electrical circuitry may be an astonishing coincidence. Or not. It may be a physical expression of how sky and ground currents ‘couple’, the same way we couple a transformer to a power line.

Lest we forget the Moon, and the physics of electrical scarring, we can look there for hints at how subtle electrical scarring can be. And since this comes from NASA, it’s all the more astonishing.

fig1_breakdown_image_text_bw2_colorDeep craters at the polar regions of the moon never see sunlight. Within these eternally dark and frozen craters, cosmic rays are bombing the surface, creating a double layer of opposite charge, because it is theorized, electrons penetrate to the subsurface, while positive ions hit and collect at the surface – it’s always the collision thing.

The double layer discharges tiny sparks that vaporize dust, launching it up to float in a thin atmosphere above the surface. This dust atmosphere was first noticed by the Apollo crews and remained a mystery for decades.

More Lunar Features at Pinacate…

There is more evidence of electrical influences in the Pinacate volcanic field and the surrounding Altar desert than rim craters on the maars. Some maars that don’t have rim craters appear as doublets, or multiple craters with consistent floor depths. These too, are features similar to the unusual shapes seen on the Moon and Mars.


Tuff Rings…

A “tuff ring” is the volcanic rim surrounding a maar crater. The tuff ring forms as hot ejected tephra falls back to Earth and lithifies into a ring of welded tuff. They are typically low relief, with a gentle slope of less than ten degrees on the outside. Several tuff rings in Pinacate are exposed, but the crater that formed them is buried.

The next four images show, in order:

  • Concentric tuff ring inside a tuff ring, with rim feature at three-o’clock;
  • Concentric tuff ring inside a tuff ring, with rim feature at nine-o’clock;
  • Tuff ring with a rim crater at five-o’clock and an east-to-west crater chain at twelve-o’clock;
  • Polygonal tuff ring doublet,



Crater Chains…

Chains of raised tuff, craters and cinder cones:



Streams to Nowhere…

Unusual ‘erosion’ patterns seem to begin and end without reason. These stark patterns of apparent erosion cross playa that is dead flat – not one foot of elevation change is evident. They appear to be lined with black rock.


Fractal patterns…

Fractal patterns appear everywhere across the Pinacate, from lightning bolt rilles, to feathery ash and tuff deposits.

We’ll look at the electrical nature of volcanic fields more in future articles. Thank you.

El Pinacate…

USGS LandSat Image



This weekend, I go to see my brother laid to rest. Jim, James Weldon Hall, Jr., Jimbo, Papa James. We called him lot’s of names.

Jim was my oldest brother, almost twenty years my senior. That made him different from an ordinary brother. His seniority carried more authority for me, like a mix between a brother and an uncle. Jim portrayed the best of both.

His kids were my age, so growing up, we all experienced his humor and pranks, his crankiness and even anger from knee-high on up. I never knew him when he was  kid. He was always an adult, a father and a leader. Jim filled the role my Dad left when he passed, for the whole family.

So, the hole he leaves is large. The sorrow I feel, I’ve never known.

Even when my Mom passed-away a year ago, it didn’t affect me this way. Of course, at 101 and more than a decade since her stroke, it was something I was prepared for.

Jim’s fight with cancer was always going to end this way. No illusions about that. Except for Jim, he never allowed himself to believe it. My faith in him and what he believed, I think, made the expected seem a surprise.

Part of my sorrow is for those who never had a Jim in their life. Anyone who knew him knows exactly what I mean. All his family and friends knew him in a uniquely connected way, because he was always there for them. For those who have never had someone there for them, it must be hard.

I’ve been fortunate, so this wake at the Ranch will celebrate him for all the love he had for us. All the time he spent with us. All the things he showed us. About how to be generous and have a sense of humor. How to be responsible, yet still have a barrel of fun. How to be caring, but never overbearing.

We’ll have a few beers and cigars, and wish him on his way. No one can change the way it is. We can only miss him.

He was Pa at the Ponderosa, Shackleton on the Weddell Sea, the Marine, the man at the helm, the friend we looked up to, and the leader of our pack.

Anyone who had the fortune and misfortune of a trek in the desert at night with Jim knows, he loved adventure. He liked taking people out of their boxes and seeing them challenged – stuck in sand, or high centered on a rock – and it gave us a taste of what a life lived is all about. Because he was always there to get us out.

His ashes will be blown across the desert in a place he once roared in a dune buggy. A place he loved, where adventure, fun and family, love and caring, and a machine to tinker with were the only things that mattered.

Peace, love and caring. Family, friends and caring. These are the only things of true meaning. What the hell is wrong with our world? Not enough Jim’s, that’s what.

Adios Bro, with all my love.

Tornadoes – Cold, Dusty Plasma

People who witness a tornado never forget. They may recall awe and beauty, or awe and terror, depending on their vantage point. Either way, they will be awed and it will haunt them forever.

For many, it becomes an obsession. An obsession to watch, film, chase, drive beneath – a need to understand. Or else, an obsession to hide every time the wind howls.

A tornado is nature’s demon. Winds in rotation, tight as a knot, with a body and energy that give it life, coherency, and a dislike for trailer parks. Most terrifying of all, it will chase you down, suck you off the ground and spit you back naked, muddy and dead.

That’s demonic.

It’s size and power seems to materialize from thin air. And it does. It’s nothing but air, at least until it picks you up, along with tons of dirt, cars, buildings and cows. All are then part of the coherent, rotating structure.

But is it really just air, spinning like a top – or is there something too organized about the mayhem – something we still don’t know?

The Mystery…

220px-dimmit_sequenceNo one fully understands tornadoes. Scientists and weather nerds chase them all over the Midwest every spring; they can’t hide. So what’s the mystery?

There are a few, but the primary one is how this coherent mass of rotating air gets vertical and ‘descends’ itself to the ground.

Tornadoes are believed by consensus science to be a purely thermodynamic event, caused by convection of moist, warm air into cold jet streams above, and the shear winds and condensation that results.

It’s no reach to understand how shear winds generate rotation, but the shearing in thunderstorms tends to be drafts traveling up and down, and cross winds at different elevations. Either shear can produce rotation, but only in the horizontal plane.

The theory approved by consensus science for grade school education, is that the column is created by shearing horizontal winds, one over the other, that create a horizontal rotating mass that gets lifted and stretched by updraft winds into a vertical vortex. What they don’t tell the grade-schooler’s is that the physics doesn’t work.

To illustrate the issue, think of a similar vortex, like a whirlpool in a bucket of water. If you stir the water with a spoon near the surface of the water, at first no whirlpool appears.

Keep stirring…

After awhile, when you have water rotating at the top of the bucket, the vortex forms. But it won’t extend any deeper than where the water is rotating. It won’t reach bottom until the rotation translates downward and the whole bucket of water is spinning.

130px-a_whirlpool_in_a_glass_of_waterIf you want to make a whirlpool fast, put the spoon all the way down and stir at the bottom of the bucket. Then it forms quickly, like opening a drain. To ‘descend’, the vortex needs to be pulled down by the low pressure created by centrifugal effects of the rotating water around it. If the bulk body of water around the vortex isn’t rotating, the funnel loses coherency and dissipates.

What is really happening is the vortex is created at the bottom of the bucket when you stir, and the funnel descends to meet it. The vortex has to be there first, and made to spin faster to draw the void of air down, which is the funnel we see.

So, one might ask, isn’t the funnel sucking like a straw and pulling itself down a column of air like a climber on a rope? Does your vacuum cleaner hose pull you down when you hold it a foot, or so above the ground?

No, there is nothing for it to pull on. The air beneath the hose keeps getting replaced as fast as it’s sucked in, so there is no tension created. A sufficient low pressure region can’t develop beneath the hose to provide any force unless you hold it less than an inch away from the ground, where friction can slow the inflow and generate a region of low pressure between the hose and the ground.

Just like the whirlpool, there needs to be a low pressure region to pull the funnel down and vortex winds at ground level. Before a tornado touches down, these winds need to be there. But there is often relative calm before a touchdown. All hell doesn’t break loose until after.

Consensus Theory #1…

Yes, it’s usually counter-clockwise, but I’m not going to redraft it.

Some researchers do predict rotating ground winds initiate tornadoes. The appearance of descent is really not the swirling winds of the tornado, but the visible condensation forming in the low pressure inside the vortex, and this condensation descends as the vortex ‘spins-up’, rotating faster.

In this concept, the tornado’s wind is already there in a compete column surrounding the descending condensation. It’s thought the tornado is initiated by a ground level vortex wind and this ground vortex controls the spin of the tornado.

Inflowing ground winds are certainly in the equation during the tornado’s life. But before touchdown, the existence of a ground vortex hasn’t been verified. It’s thought to be at low wind speeds, below speeds that would cause damage. It’s not until this ground vortex spins itself-up enough to start lifting dust that the tornado technically ‘touches down’ and we notice it.

The issue with this theory is that rotating funnel clouds are commonly seen that never seem to touch down at all, or be associated with ground winds, which implies they are rotating up there by themselves caused by something other than a ground vortex. This puts tornadogenesis back in the clouds.

Even in the event a subtle ground vortex is involved in creating a rotating column, how does this ground vortex form? Data is lacking because no one can predict where a tornado is going to land in order to set up the instrumentation.

Consensus Theory #2…can it still be a consensus?

220px-1957_dallas_multi-vortex_1_editedAnother theory proposes that the vortex is drawn to the ground when a descending column of air and rain wraps around a funnel cloud.

It’s called an occlusion downdraft, and it’s commonly seen, but not always. The theory requires the rainy downdraft wrap around the funnel to form a concentric vortex that merges with the funnel cloud and creates a smoke ring effect, a torus of rotating winds, with a longitudinal momentum that drags the funnel down. No photographs of this torus exist, as far as we know.

It sounds like a complex process. Too complex to explain several types of tornado that form when the mechanisms required aren’t there. Non-supercell tornadoes, albeit typically weaker, form when the conditions required for rain-wrap aren’t present.

Strange behavior…

Non-supercell tornadoes are circulations that do not form from organized storm-scale rotation. These tornadoes form from a vertically spinning parcel of air already occurring near the ground.

One non-supercell tornado is a landspout. A landspout is a tornado with a narrow, condensation funnel that forms while the storm clouds are still growing and there is no rotating updraft – the spinning motion originates near the ground.


Waterspouts are  generally classified as non-supercell tornadoes. Waterspouts have a five-part life cycle: a dark spot on the water surface, spiral pattern on the water surface, a spray ring around the pattern, a visible condensation funnel, and ultimate decay.

Again, the life cycle begins at the surface, when a “dark spot” forms. They normally develop as their ‘parent’ clouds are still in the process of development.

Waterspouts are known for raining fish. From as deep as three feet below the surface (how do they know this?) fish can be lifted into the air and deposited as far as 100 miles inland.

Tornadoes display other perplexing behavior. Witnesses claim seeing tornadoes die suddenly and another rapidly form in apparently the same track as the previous.

220px-tornado_with_no_funnelDid they see one tornado fluctuating in strength, or two vortexes in sequence? The disappearance and reappearance is so rapid it is hard to imagine the atmospheric dynamic that would cause it.

Mounting evidence, including Doppler mobile radar images and eyewitness accounts, show most tornadoes have a clear, calm center with extremely low pressure, like the eye of a hurricane. The mystery of this is why it surprises anyone, but it’s still fascinating.

What follows is an excerpt from a 1930 report by Mr. Will Keller of Greensburg, Kansas, eye witness to the inside of a tornado:

“Steadily the tornado came on, the end gradually rising above the ground. I could have stood there only a few seconds but so impressed was I with what was going on that it seemed a long time. At last the great shaggy end of the funnel hung directly overhead. Everything was as still as death. There was a strong gassy odor and it seemed that I could not breathe. There was a screaming, hissing sound coming directly from the end of the funnel. I looked up and to my astonishment I saw right up into the heart of the tornado.

There was a circular opening in the center of the funnel, about 50 or 100 feet in diameter, and extending straight upward for a distance of at least one half mile, as best I could judge under the circumstances. The walls of this opening were of rotating clouds and the whole was made brilliantly visible by constant flashes of lightning which zig-zagged from side to side. Had it not been for the lightning I could not have seen the opening, not any distance up into it anyway. Around the lower rim of the great vortex small tornadoes were constantly forming and breaking away. These looked like tails as they writhed their way around the end of the funnel. It was these that made the hissing noise.

I noticed that the direction of rotation of the great whirl was anticlockwise, but the small twisters rotated both ways – some one way and some another. The opening was entirely hollow except for something which I could not exactly make out, but suppose that it was a detached wind cloud. This thing was in the center and was moving up and down.”

There are other types of tornado-like phenomena. Gustnado’s that form at storm fronts display the characteristics of a tornado touchdown, kicking up dust and debris in a vortex on the ground, but without any apparent rotation, or funnel above.

Sometimes without even clouds above. Dust devils also form this way. Isn’t there a common dominant influence underlying all these atmospheric whirlpools?

Now let’s remember that we live on an Electric Earth…

Take the blinders off, and see if there is another way to look at tornadoes.

By taking blinders off, it means adding electromagnetism back into the picture. It has been excluded almost completely by consensus science, even though it is the most pervasive feature of thunderstorms – the very things that makes tornadoes.

The word tornado is an altered form of the Spanish word tronada, which means “thunderstorm”. This in turn was taken from the Latin tonare, meaning “to thunder”. So even the etymology recognizes the obvious, fundamental connection that many, in influential positions, miss. With that in mind, let’s digress a moment to discuss lightning.

Atmospheric Circuitry…

We don’t notice what’s happening electrically in our atmosphere, because we live on the earth’s surface in an equipotential layer. We don’t notice, that is, until a thunderstorm arrives.

Our atmosphere carries an electric field. The atmospheric field varies widely – from night-to-day and summer-to-winter – between 100 volts per meter vertically in clear weather, to orders of magnitude stronger during thunderstorms.

Dust devil

For example, dust devils have been researched by very dirty scientists who measured a vertical electric field gradient of 10,000 volts per meter, even in small whirlwinds. They also found them to produce radio noise and a fluctuating magnetic field at frequencies of 3 to 30 Hz.

Since no intrepid storm-chaser has yet stood under a tornado with an antenna and voltmeter (not for lack of trying) we don’t know the potential in a tornado. Assuming an average tornado column to be three km long and carrying the same potential gradient over the column, that would be a 30 million volt potential. That’s two and half million car batteries connected in series.

A strong electric field will lift materials off the ground and into the atmosphere. Field experiments indicate that a large dust devil measuring 300 ft across can lift about 15 tons of dust into the air in 30 minutes.

Electricity is also known to aid formation of sand storms on Earth, and NASA believes it to be instrumental in raising dust on the Moon, dust devils on Mars, and tornadoes in the atmosphere of the Sun.

Normally the atmosphere carries a minor fair weather current of one pico-amp per square meter. This tiny current is thought to be a return current caused by lightning around the world, diffused throughout the atmosphere. This tiny, diffuse current is only part of the return circuit in a lightning bolt, however.

Keep stirring…

NOAA Image

Lightning from a thunderstorm has no ‘electrode’ in the sky. It comes from accumulations of charge in the clouds – pools of electrons, or ions, like the accumulated charge on a capacitor plate.

Temperature and pressure moved by shearing winds take the place of the plates in segregating regions of charge.

A study using interferometer  and Doppler radar to correlate lightning with updraft and downdraft winds, showed that lightning avoids the updraft core (red arrow in the image) and forms in regions of weaker, lower pressure winds around the updraft. As a storm intensifies and the updraft speeds up, lightning frequency dramatically intensifies.

Fast updraft winds and their role in supercell structure is a discussion for another day, however it will be shown they are likely motivated by electric current in the storm in the first place, so it is not surprising in an electric atmosphere that positive ions in a powerful updraft would collect negative charge around the updraft column, which is where the study found lightning to initiate.

220px-lightning_over_oradea_romania_croppedUpdraft winds don’t produce much lightning until they reach 10 to 20 mph. Then strike frequency escalates with updraft speed. From 20 to 50 mph wind speeds, lightning frequency might be 5 to 20 strikes per minute, whereas above 90 mph, the flash rate can exceed one strike per second.

It’s like a motor running.

Coincidentally, cloud-to-ground lightning frequency is seen to decrease as a tornado touches down, and return to the baseline level when the tornado dissipates. This is an important point, but we’ll return to it later.

The charged layers in the cloud, and the thin, flashing filament we see in common cloud-to-ground lightning, is only part of the event. There is also buildup of positive charge on the ground. The ground charge forms as a pool of positive ions over the surface of the land and its features, accumulating in concentration at high points. The positive ions form when electrons are stripped away from air and surface features by the powerful electric field.

The lightning bolt initiates when the negative charge invades the air below with filaments of charge called leaders. Remember, there is an amplified electric field of millions of volts between the storm clouds and Earth. The leaders zig-zag downward in stepped segments while the ground charge reaches up in a filament of positive ions called a streamer. When leader and streamer meet, the channel is complete and dumps the negative cloud charge to ground. This is called an arc discharge.

Electrons flood through the channel at relativistic speed, creating a magnetic field that constricts the channel and the current, called a z-pinch. It is the dielectric breakdown of atmosphere to allow a discharge – a short circuit between the clouds and ground.

The ionic ground charge follows, ions being heavy and therefore slower than electrons, rushing up the channel at 60,000 miles per second in what is called a return stroke. It’s the return stroke we see emitting light from particle collisions in the constricted channel. Return strokes often repeat as new charge pools and discharges, producing multiple flashes until charges equalize.

It all happens within tenths of a second, involving volumes measured in cubic kilometers. So these charged layers in the clouds and on the ground must be highly coherent.

Dark – Not Arc…

Arc discharge is the extreme end of the spectrum for electrical discharge, however. There are other types of discharge that occur under different regimes of electric field intensity, charge density, and the polarity and physical properties of the electrodes and medium the discharge takes place in.

The channel lightning travels in is a fully ionized plasma generated by the strong electric field between the cloud and ground. The leaders and streamers are the plasma channel being created. Other modes of current  flow can occur without dielectric breakdown, or full ionization of the plasma. These currents don’t create an arc of lightning.

Glow discharge in a Plasma


The chart above demonstrates that extremely high current is required to make an arc, (red part of curve). Medium currents produce only a glow, like the polar aurora and neon lights (blue curve). Low currents will produce no light emission at all (black curve).

From ‘A’ to ‘B’ is a regime of discharge initiation, where reactions are taking place to saturate the channel with ionization. Then from ‘B’ to ‘D’, current rises exponentially with very high voltage. Current density is low enough though, there are few particle collisions and it emits no visible light. This is the regime of dark discharge, or dark current mode, and it’s invisible.

Cosmic ray creating an avalanche.

In this region, the high electric field gives electrons enough energy to ionize a neutral atom, releasing another electron which initiates a chain reaction. The new free electron ionizes another neutral in a secondary reaction and this continues, leading to an avalanche of new ion and electron production. The avalanche results in the exponential current rise as charge density amplifies. It’s called a Townsend discharge.

When current is high enough, visible glow can occur near the electrode and edges, sharp points, or other narrow objects where charge collects. This is called corona discharge. One form of corona discharge is St. Elmo’s fire.

Another glow discharge related to corona discharge is dielectric barrier discharge between two parallel plate electrodes. Both occur at high voltage, low current in atmospheric air below the dielectric breakdown threshold, and without the explosive blast and temperatures of an arc.


A dielectric barrier discharge, shown above, demonstrates how current collects itself into plasma streamers. The discharge is occurring in air between two parallel electrode plates layered with mica at about 30 kHz, with a discharge gap of about 4 mm. The wide foot of the discharge is ionic charge pooling on the barrier surface.

Cold, Dusty Plasma…

For air to become plasma and carry current, the air has to be partially ionized. A plasma state can be defined by “plasma density” – the number of free electrons per unit volume, and the “degree of ionization” – the proportion of atoms that have lost, or gained electrons.

Even a partially ionized gas in which as little as 1% of the particles are ionized is considered a plasma, responding to magnetic fields and displaying high electrical conductivity. A partially ionized plasma is often referred to as a “cold plasma”, and highly ionized plasma is referred to as “hot”.

A negative corona begins with an ionization event, such as a pooling of ions in a strong electric field generating primary electrons, followed by an electron avalanche. Secondary electrons are created by photoelectric effect at the electrode.

Corona discharge will produce dark current by generating the electrons and ions in a current flow that has a particular geometry. The glowing region that halos around the point electrode is where primary ionization occurs. The charged species then enter a ‘drift’ region where they follow the electric field, but are dispersed by charge repulsion in a spray, like a wonky shower-head.

It’s in this region secondary ionization occurs. If electrons/ions have enough oomph from the electric field, the secondary reactions will continue to occur, maintaining a current to the plate electrode. If not, they recombine with positive ions and neutralize, extinguishing the current.


The center of the coronal discharge is more energetic and isolated from interaction with surrounding particles of opposite charge, so more often cascade into avalanches. Closer to the edge of the discharge, weaker reactions manifest in transfer of momentum and heat between the ions and neutrals.  This causes a current density distribution, as shown by the curve at the bottom of the above diagram. The current segregates into channels oriented to the distribution.

slide3The geometry in a negative corona is three concentric regions of emission. The inner region, corresponding to the peak distribution of charge density, is ionizing plasma where high energy primary electron-neutral collisions avalanche. The intermediate ring is a non-ionizing plasma where electrons collide with neutral oxygen and water vapor with insufficient energy to avalanche, but produce a plasma of primarily negative ions that drift to the flat plate electrode and complete the circuit. The outer region is a flow of negative ions and sparse electrons known as the unipolar region.

These regions correspond well with the anatomy of a super-cell, assuming charge accumulates around, or near the central updraft that breathes life into the storm.

slide2The Ionizing Plasma Region…

Directly beneath the core of the corona, avalanches can be energetic enough to establish sputtering arcs. We see it as negative cloud-to-ground lightning, which observations concur, happen around the updraft and with a frequency regulated by the updraft speed.

The Unipolar Region…

The uniplolar region is the outer ring of the corona. It’s not a plasma, but is composed of a low density of negatively charged ions drifting towards the plate electrode, transferring energy primarily as heat and momentum rather than electrical current. Momentum transfer manifests as downdraft winds by the process of electrokinesis.

Electrokinesis is the transfer of momentum from the charged particles to the surrounding neutrals, creating an ‘electric wind’ that moves the bulk fluid along the electric field. Air ionizers and blade-less fans work by electrokinesis, by partially ionizing air in the same fashion, with a coronal discharge.

In humid air, ions will also be hydrated causing selective water transport. Therefore, unipolar drift manifests in a thunderstorm as the forward (FFD) and rear flanking (RFD) downdraft winds, rain and hail.

The Non-ionizing Plasma Region…

The intermediate channel of non-ionizing plasma generates ions at low energy that precludes avalanche, but carry current as these ions drift to the plate. If the ionization rate exceeds the rate of recombination, the plasma will build a tendril (actually called a streamer, but we’ll use the term tendril to distinguish it from a lightning streamer) from the point electrode to the plane electrode (earth) pushing the plasma generating ionization region ahead of it, and drawing behind it a cloud of cold plasma. When this plasma hits the plane electrode a cathode spot is produced, and the electric field redistributes along the plasma channel that is created.

The Tornado…

The cathode spot on the ground (plate electrode) draws positive charge to it, dragging neutrals by electrokinesis, and creating the in-flowing winds that generate a vortex. This is the moment of touchdown, as charged air and dust flow in and spiral upwards around the invisible plasma tendril.

The action is analogous to the lightning bolt leader and positive ground streamer that meet to create a channel for arc discharge, only in this case the plasma channel is partially ionized, diffused with predominately neutral species. Its energy and charge densities are too low to make an arc, so it forms a complex plasma channel called a Marklund Convection.

Marklund convection, showing diffusion of neutral air away from current tendril (blue arrows) creating low pressure. Plasma drift (green arrows) draw positive ions at ground level, creating inflowing winds to the point of contact with the plate electrode.

Rotation is a natural consequence for two reasons. Neutral air is diffused away from the Marklund current creating low pressure. But positive ions near the ground drag air, dust and debris to the ground contact and create in-flowing winds and a sudden change in direction up, and around the tendril. The meeting of these opposing winds is, by definition, a vortex.

But current in plasma will itself rotate, taking a helical path as it interacts with the magnetic field around it. The appearance of a tornado is precisely what one would expect from such a current. Increasing current flow “spins up” the tornado.

It forms an inner spiraling negative current to ground and an outer spiral of positive ionic wind flowing up to the source of coronal discharge.


Because the tornado is a cold, partial plasma carrying a significant mass of neutral air and dust, it can be pushed by winds to create a slanted, or even kinked path, and travel away from it’s point of origin.

Now let’s return to the storm that most often creates tornadoes. Super-cell morphology provides all the effects of corona discharge. The super-cell has distinct regions of updraft and downdraft winds (electrokinesis), rain and hail (water transport) and sputtering arcing discharge (lightning) which we discussed earlier, forms around the central updraft.




If tornadoes are caused by coronal discharge generating a Marklund convection current from cloud-to-ground, what are some tell-tale signs?

Wall clouds…

One piece of evidence may be the wall cloud. Wall clouds form before a tornado in typical supercell evolution. It will develop rotation and sometimes its clouds can be seen to rise and fall in an agitated manner. Puffs of low level clouds are drawn to it below the main cloud base.

It creates a vertical wall of cloud that is incongruous to the general slant of the storm cloud and winds in-flowing to it.

This may be evidence of the vertical orientation of the electric field created by the coronal discharge and ions transported down with moisture. The electric field doesn’t pay attention to the wind.

lakeviewThe funnel cloud doesn’t always emerge from the center of the wall cloud, as shown in most consensus science diagrams. The tornado funnel often appears along the edges of the wall cloud, or from the surrounding clouds.

This is because the tendrils of current are mobile on the negative electrode and can wander. They can also multiply, creating several tornadoes.

Characteristic of parallel currents, multiple tornadoes stand off from each other as if repulsed like two parallel wires flowing current in the same direction. Rare occasions when tornadoes seem to merge, it may be that one simply dies as the other steals it’s current.

The sudden disappearance and reappearance of tornadoes, and the reported skipping, or lifting they seem to portray, are likely caused by pulsating current from an unstable coronal discharge that weakens until recombination steals the current, and then revives when the rate of ionization again overcomes the rate of recombination and a complete circuit to ground is reestablished.

Tornadoes and lightning…

As mentioned earlier, lightning frequency is highest around the central updraft and increases in frequency with the strength of the updraft winds. The central updraft of warm moist air carries positively charged ions and dust particles into the center of the storm. A negative corona might be expected to form around this updraft, attracted to the positive current generated, excited by the electric field and collisions with neutral atoms.

The physics of coronal discharge studied in the lab is generally done with point, or wire electrodes that have a constant position and shape. An electrode formed in the clouds probably forms an amorphous ring structure around the in-flowing central updraft, where charge densities can migrate.


When a tornado forms, it’s been noted that cloud-to-ground lightning frequency diminishes until the tornado dies, and then it picks-up again to the baseline level. This is evidence the electric field has re-aligned along the Marklund convection in the non-ionizing plasma region, sapping energy from the ionizing plasma that manifests lightning and migrating it to the outer portion of the ring.

Sights, smells and sounds…

Tornadoes are formed by a cold plasma, dark current, so light emissions aren’t evident, at least below the clouds. Storms that produce tornadoes are often characterized by a greenish tint in the clouds, however. The green tint is excused by many scientists as a reflection of city lights, and their search for green-tinted city lights continues. The green glow of a coronal discharge internal to the cloud formation explains the green tint.

Luminosity in the clouds and the funnel are also reported. Consensus science blames this on misidentified sources of light from lightning, city lights, or flashes from downed power lines. Some of it no doubt is, but some of it is likely the effect of coronal discharge. Lightning flashes don’t make a continuous glow.

Ionized oxygen  can recombine to produce ozone, which has a distinctive chlorine-like “gassy smell”. As Mr. Keller’s close call with the mouth of a tornado attests, a “gassy smell” was present.

220px-tornado_infrasound_sourcesMr. Keller also reported he heard hissing sounds from the multiple vortex tendrils at the base of the funnel. Funnel clouds and small tornadoes are known to produce harmonic sounds of whistling, whining, humming, or buzzing bees, like electricity. As ozone is liberated it produces such a hissing sound.

Energized transmission lines subject to over-voltage conditions produce all of these same effects: faint luminescent glow, ozone production and it’s accompanying hiss and smell. It’s cause is coronal discharge.

Tornadoes also produce identifiable infra-sound. It’s inaudible to the human ear, but it can be felt. It can produce nausea, agitation and body heat… not that a tornado really needs infra-sound to do that.

Lightning is seen internal to the funnel, again as reported by Mr. Keller. These are likely a form of cloud-to-cloud discharges, between the counter-flowing positive and negative currents in the Marklund convection.

Tornadoes are seen to have an inner and outer column, although this is disputed by consensus scientists as another illusion. The inner column, however, is seen if the outer dusty sheath dissipates, or is blown away. This is consistent with the double wall formed in a Marklund convection.

Double wall – an inner tube with an outer sheath of dust can be seen.

There goes Aunt Em…

A good friend who had the misfortune of being in a tornado, said he was momentarily lifted from the bathtub he was hiding in because he was weightless. He swears no wind was lifting him – he was simply weightless.

Stories from other survivors also report the sensation of momentary weightlessness, floating as if no wind was pushing. This is likely because of electrokinesis.

At ground level, the accumulation of positive charge beneath the influence of the electric field from the storm may be charging items, including people and lending them an attraction to the negative electrode overhead.

Perhaps this explains other odd events reported. For instance a house demolished, yet a table sits with a glass of water in the middle of the carnage untouched. Maybe if you don’t want to get picked up and carried away, give yourself a negative charge. Of course, too much of that can kill you, too.

Tornadoes emit on the electromagnetic spectrum as measured at a distance by researchers. Electric fields are detected and tornadoes emit sferics, the same type of broadband radio noise lightning discharges produce.

Non-super-cell tornadoes…

220px-great_lakes_waterspoutsSo what if there is no super-cell? How do all the other vortex phenomena form – landspouts, waterspouts, gustnadoes and dust devils, and how are they related.

By the same mechanism proposed here for the super-cell tornado, only in lower energy form.

Funnel clouds, which never result in a touchdown are a tendril of Marklund convection current that begins to recombine faster than it generates ions, and it dies. Landspouts, gustnadoes and waterspouts all begin with a surface disturbance – a vortex without a cloud, or at least not one showing a wall cloud, or rotation.

These may be evidence of ground contacts of the first pulse of the tendril, stimulating the ground vortex to initiate the tornado. The lack of wall cloud, rotation, or in the case of a dust devil, no clouds at all, are because the electrode is simply invisible. A dark discharge from an amorphous collection of charge in an electric field wouldn’t necessarily glow, or generate a condensation funnel.

A powerful thunderstorm creates a charged environment and elevates the electric field, regardless of whether it reaches super-cell proportions. With no organizing rotation in the clouds, the corona may very well be more like a plate electrode than a point, spread out across the sky. In this case, barrier discharge which we discussed earlier, may be closer to the mechanism that shoots tendrils without a rotating cloud overhead. Even in clear weather, thermal convection would create an updraft that could generate a diffuse corona.


This comports with the observations of twisters of all kinds, including dust devils and spouts which are seen to begin on the ground. Or water – in the case of a waterspout – where documented evolution begins with the mysterious “dark spot” on the water.

In theoretical research, not many people are even looking for electromagnetic influences except with respect to lightning. Several surveys have attempted to gain electrical data. Balloons, drones, airplanes and rockets, people in armed vehicles and stationary sounding platforms of various kinds have been deployed to take readings on tornadoes.

The extreme winds, physical danger and uncertainty in pre-positioning instrument arrays has defeated many attempts. As a result, science is relying on chasers, doppler radar and interferometers to get detailed information on wind speeds, pressures, temperatures and other physical parameters, but not so much about the ions and electric field.

Cold plasma with only a percent, or so of ionization may  remain below the sensitivity of their instruments. Especially on the ground during tornadogenesis – they either arrive to late, or don’t live to tell about it. Airplanes have flown through storms and mapped clouds of electrons and ions, so we know vast sheets of charge accumulate up there.

Waterspouts were examined for electric fields. The researchers didn’t detect an unusually strong field and concluded electricity had no significant influence. There is always an electric field. Perhaps a waterspout doesn’t require as high a voltage. After all, salt water in particular, is composed of easily ionized constituents. More likely, the scientists didn’t get there on time to record the initiating pulse of the tendril, when the highest current and realignment of the electric field occurs.

We live on an Electric Earth. Weather, climate and even the land forms display it, we just need to learn how to recognize it. So, we’ll look deeper into the super-cell next time, because no one else seems to recognize it’s a thermopile!