Thunderbolt in biogeochemistry : galvanic effects of lightning as another source for metal remobilization
Iron and manganese are relevant constituents of the earth's crust and both show increasing mobility when reduced by free electrons. This reduction is known to be controlled by microbial dissimilation processes. Alternative sources of free electrons in nature are cloud-to-ground lightning events with thermal and galvanic effects. Where thermal effects of lightning events are well described, less is known about the impact of galvanic lightning effects on metal mobilization. Here we show that a significant mobilization of manganese occurs due to galvanic effects of both positive and negative lightning, where iron seems to be unaffected with manganese being abundant in oxic forms in soils/sediments. A mean of 0.025 mmol manganese (negative lightning) or 0.08 mmol manganese (positive lightning) mobilization may occur. We suggest that lightning possibly influences biogeochemical cycles of redox sensitive elements in continental parts of the tropics/subtropics on a regional/local scale.