A 2 μF capacitor was charged to voltages in the 1 - 10 kV range and discharged into a water column through a 38 μH inductor. At voltages up to about 6 kV, the water acted as a relatively high resistance and the circuit decayed as an overdamped RLC circuit. Resistance decreased with time. When the resistance dropped below about 10 Ω, the water would explode if the capacitor still had sufficient energy. The loudness was distinctly greater than an equivalent amount of gunpowder.
During the explosion, resistance would drop still more, so the circuit would become underdamped and oscillatory. Remaining water droplets are cool to the touch, so there is no evidence that the water has boiled into steam, although that has to remain a possibility. A low impedance arc in air sometimes forms after the explosion so the explosion is not necessarily caused by an air arc.