Over The Past 30 Years, Lightning Has Killed An Average Of 58 People Each Year
January 19, 2012 by staff
Over The Past 30 Years, Lightning Has Killed An Average Of 58 People Each Year, What tends to happen when lightning strikes ground is that it fuses dirt and clays into silica or sand. The result is often a black, glassy rock (called a fulgarite) in the shape of a convoluted tube. The shape in the ground is the shape of the path the lightning current followed in the ground. There is often damage to grasses along this path too. Lightning traveling down a tree trunk turns water to steam. If it gets under the bark into the surface moisture of the wood, the rapidly expanding steam can blast pieces of bark from the tree, and the wood along the path is often killed.
Positive lightning is often considered more dangerous because its electrical field is stronger (forming at the top of the storm), the flash duration is typically longer, and its peak charge can be much greater than a negative strike. Plus, positively charged lightning can occur near the edge of a cloud or strike more than 10 miles away – when people aren’t aware of the danger.
According to the National Weather Service, during the past 30 years (1979-2008) lightning killed an average of 58 people each year. Documented injuries average about 300 per year.
Lightning can have 100 million to 1 billion volts, and contains billions of watts.
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