Lightning existed before humans
and was the first source of fire on Earth. Many vegetable ecologic systems
were developed to take advantage from lightning. Trees which seed needs fire
to bloom exist because of it. Others colonize the area cleaned by the fire.
We are learning more and more about these huge
electricity sparks in the sky and in this process we are starting to understand
that without lightning we maybe wouldn’t be here. On its maximum point a
lightning temperature gets up to 27.000 0C making the surrounding
air to burn. Nitrogen and oxygen react forming nitrates that are vital to
fertilize the soil through the rain. The air expands very quickly causing the
thunder sound we hear right after a lightning.
Lightning may have been the primitive source of
life on earth. Many facts we know and many we don’t know may be related to
One single spark can bring enough energy to
feed a big city like São Paulo for several hours. The electric power of
lighting is enormous. In our homes we have 120 Volts and 40 Amperes of
electricity in average. A common lightning has about 500.000 Volts and 10.000
Amperes that are brought to ground in one second. The biggest lightning can
reach 2 million volts. That’s really something, isn’t it?
The spacecraft Voyager has captured lightning
in Jupiter and there is evidence of them in Venus. On Earth all we need to get
lightning sparks is humid and hot air. This will produce storm clouds and
lightning. It seems lightnings are
everywhere and are part of natural process.
But, if they may have been the source of life,
they can also be very dangerous. Here are some tips about them:
Lightning sparks kill more people in the world than hurricanes or
They are attracted by metallic objects or
by the tallest object around. If
there is a threat
of storm get a shelter. Avoid open field.
Even inside your home you aren’t completely
safe. Water pipes, electric and telephone wires communicate with
the external environment and can be a way for a lightning to enter
your house. In the USA about three people die every year because
they were on the phone during an electric storm. The spark gets
in the wires and reaches the person killing her.
A parked car is the safest place in a lightning storm. The electricity
will run through the metallic body of the car keeping safe the people
inside it even if it is hit by a direct impact.
Stay away from tall objects like trees because it can be hit by
a lightning that will explode it releasing some parts at lethal
“A lightning never hits twice the same place” – people say. It’s
false unless the first lightning had destroyed the place.
We are beginning to understand how a lightning interacts with
natural life process in our planet. Maybe for Earth’s future we have to
understand it better. Electricity was not “invented” by the man. As we can see
in this text it was “discovered” and not yet completely understood or tamed.
Next time you are under an electric storm, get a shelter, take some basic care
and enjoy the beauty of nature’s power. It’s really amazing!