Lightning is a streak of light seen in the sky often accompanied by a loud thundering noise, storm, heavy winds, and rains. It occurs when two huge clouds dash against each other in the sky leading a large amount of electrons exchange. There are some interesting facts about lightning that you should know.
Interesting Facts About Lightning
The flash of the strikes travels at the speed of light, which is 670,000,000 mph, but actual lightning travels at the speed of 270,000 mph. This distance can be compared in simpler terms as the time taken to travel from London to Bristol being only 1.5 seconds.
Lightning Striking a Beach
When thunderstorm strikes a beach or a place with sandy soil, it joins the grains of sand, creating a glass-like tube known as fulgurite. Such structures are rare to collect and also have great scientific significance.
Place Where Maximum Lightning Strikes
Popular lake Maracaibo in Venezuela is a place where thunderstorm strikes the maximum. Around 160 nights per year receive the maximum amount of thunderstorms. These can even last up to 10 hours at a time. Some nights even receive up to 40,000 strikes per night.
Helicopters Cause Lightning
Helicopters sometimes result in isolated strikes. Sometimes, helicopters gain a negative charge while flying. If they come close to an area that is positively charged, they may trigger it.
Lightning Destroys Trees But Helps Plants Grow
Many trees get damaged when thunderstorms strike on them. The streak of light travels right to the bark of the tree where there is a layer of water and sap. This gets instantly heated and expands. This expansion results in the bark of the tree to blast off from the tree and split.
They help plants grow. Nitrogen is all around us, but for plants to be able to absorb it, they rely on the nitrogen fixation process. Bacteria and algae are responsible for this process mostly, but sometimes, because of the extreme heat of strikes, the nitrogen bonds with the oxygen and creates nitrogen oxide, which then combines with moisture in the air. This later falls like rain and the plants absorb nitrate-rich water.
Just as lightning is a sight to watch, volcanic eruptions are also known to cause strikes. When a volcanic eruption occurs, the ash and earth are thrown together into the air with a lot of force. They collide with each other and result in electrical charges. This imbalance in the electrical charge leads to strikes too.
It was believed until the 18th century that ringing church bells could repel it. During a thunderstorm, bell ringers were asked to ring the bells to repel the strikes. But actually, it was the worst place to be as a high tower with a metal bell was more susceptible to the strikes. This custom was banned in 1800 when around 103 bell-ringers were struck by lightning during thunderstorms and died.
These were some of the interesting facts about lightning you need to know.