Lightning Bolts Pictures

Cloud-to-ground lightning bolts are a common phenomenon—about 100 strike Earth’s surface every single second—yet their power is extraordinary. Each bolt can contain up to one billion volts of electricity.

This enormous electrical discharge is caused by an imbalance between positive and negative charges. During a storm, colliding particles of rain, ice, or snow increase this imbalance and often negatively charge the lower reaches of storm clouds. Objects on the ground, like steeples, trees, and the Earth itself, become positively charged—creating an imbalance that nature seeks to remedy by passing current between the two charges.

Some Facts:

Some scientists think that lightning may have played a part in the evolution of living organisms.

Earth as a whole is struck by an average of more than a hundred lightning bolts every second.

The odds of being struck in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000.

Lightning can kill people (3,696 deaths were recorded in the U.S. between 1959 and 2003) or cause cardiac arrest. Injuries range from severe burns and permanent brain damage to memory loss and personality change.

It’s been seen in volcanic eruptions,extremely intense forest fires, surface nuclear detonations, heavy snowstorms,and in large hurricanes.

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