The study of ‘fozzilized’ lightning

“According to Pasek, the energy released by lightning is measured in megajoules, also expressed as MJ/m.

“For example a single megajoule is equivalent to about 200 food calories, or the energy from leaving a microwave on for 20 minutes to cook food,” he explains. “It can also be compared to a 60 watt lightbulb’s energy use if left on for about four hours. It’s also the same as the kinetic energy a car has traveling about 60 mph.” Their research found that the energy produced by a lightning strike peaked at greater than 20MJ/m.

The researchers also found a way to separate the “normal” lightning strikes from the “abnormal.””

Watts Up With That?

From the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA (USF INNOVATION)

Study provides a new method to measure the energy of a lightning strike

By investigating ‘fossilized’ sand cylinders made by lightning strikes, sometimes thousands of years old, a University of South Florida professor provides a unique history of lightning and the energy contained in a single strike

TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 3, 2016) – Florida, often recognized as the “lightning capital of the United States,” is a great place to study the amount of energy released by a lightning strike. Just ask University of South Florida School of Geosciences Associate Professor Matthew Pasek and his colleague Marc Hurst of Independent Geological Sciences, Inc. who have developed a unique method to measure the amount energy expended by a bolt of cloud-to-ground lightning.

According to Pasek, one of the more difficult things to measure is the amount of energy in a lightning strike. While atmospheric…

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