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Essay - Lightning

Essay - Lightning

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Published by Smiles
9 Moronic Misconceptions about Lightning
9 Moronic Misconceptions about Lightning

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Published by: Smiles on Oct 24, 2010
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08/20/2012

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9 Moronic Misconceptions about Lightning

By Monét Kotzé
1. Many people believe that lightning never strikes twice in the same place. This however is false, it has been proven that some very tall buildings have been struck several times in the same storm. For example, it strikes the Empire State Building in New York approximately 22-25 times per year. 2. People, especially children, think that during a thunderstorm it is better to seek shelter under tall trees. In fact, this is extremely hazardous, as tall trees are more likely to get struck by lightning. 3. Yet another incorrect idea is in thinking that the clap of thunder always occurs after a bolt of lightning. In fact, many thunderclaps are never heard due to their distance from the observer. 4. It is also believed that rubber tires or a foam pad can insulate you from lightning, the misconception being that it takes about 10,000 volts to generate one-inch of a spark. In fact, lightning is made up of millions of volts and can easily jump 10-20 feet 5. People also believe that lightning rods can protect your ropes course while hiking; lightning rods are "preferential attachment points" for lightning and drawing lightning toward any area with people nearby is not a good idea 6. It is believed that during thunderstorms we should get off the water, when boating, canoeing or sailing, etc, however tall trees and rocky areas along coastline as well as on nearby land may be a more dangerous place.

7. A cave is a safe place to seek shelter during a thunderstorm, where in fact the cave is shallow, or an old mine with metallic objects nearby, it can be a deadly place during lightning 8. It is erroneously thought that lightning is not able to strike an object that isn·t under a thunderstorm. Some bolts of lightning, especially positive strokes, are capable of travelling far distances horizontally from a storm before hitting the surface. These positive strokes are the most deadly form of lightning and therefore if you are close enough to the storm to hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck 9. It is also thought that you should not come in physical contact with a person after they have been struck by lightning as their body can carry a powerful electric charge. This is an incorrect assumption that could be fatal, after a person is struck by lightning, they should be given medical attention immediately. Lightning can stop the heart and a person that is struck by lightning can still be revived by CPR.

The Truth about Lightning
Basic Definition of Lightning
Lightning occurs in order to try to balance the positive and negative electrical charges within a thunderstorm and the earth's surface

How Lightning Occurs
Lightning occurs due to the build-up of static electricity within a cloud, or the cloud and the earth·s surface. A lightning cloud consists of negative and positive charges. When this build-up reaches a certain level, the electrical potential is enormous and a sudden discharge will occur as the one charge is attracted to the other charge. This can almost be interpreted as a giant battery forming temporarily and the energy discharged can be immense. This is known as lightning. The air then expands so rapidly that it generates a loud crack known as thunder.

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