|I need to know if lightening strikes water (ex.
oceans, lakes, etc.)? If it does, does the
electrical current fry the fish?
|Question Date: 1998-09-25|
Yes. Lighting strikes water. When the clouds
build up lots of + charge,and the water builds up
lots of - charge, a "channel" of ionized air will
form that acts just like a skinny wire between the
clouds and the water. The charge will flow
through the channel from the water to the clouds
forming a lighting bolt. This flow of charge is
Does it fry fish? Only
at the surface of the water in the region at the
strike. This is because the current flowing in the
lightning bolt comes from a large area of the
surface of the ocean. All that current is
squeezed into the bolt. The current density is
high in the lighting bolt and at the strike
region, but the current density is very low far
from the strike region.This is like pinching off
the end of a hose to make the stream of
more intense. The current is flowing on the
ocean, but is pinched into the lightning bolt near
the strike. So the fish right at the lighting
strike would probably be fried.
fish that is not right at the surface will not get
fried, since in the ocean the currents will only
flow at the surface. This is because salt water
is a conductor, and the currents from a lighting
strike will only flow on the surface of a
conductor. (By the way, this is why it is safe to
be in a car in a lightning storm. The car is
metal, so the currents will just flow on the
surface of the car and not go inside).
the answer is this: Only fish at the point of the
lightning strike near the surface of the sea will
get fried. But if the fish is at the floating at
the surface it's probably already dead anyways so
being hit by lightning is no big deal.
Well, I know that lightening can strike water
because I've have seen it happen.
years ago I was at Huntington Lake in the Sierras
near Fresno. I
was on the shore and the
lightening strike hit about 500 yards away from
shore. It was pretty exciting.
far as whether fish can be hurt by such a
lightening strike, I guess it
whether any fish are unlucky enough to be near the
close to the strike do you think
is too close? I'm sure the answer is similar to
the answer to "how close is too close on
That's a neat question. I think the first thing
you should do is to look up the word ground. Try
to find what it means in the "electrical" sense of
the word. When you find that definition, ask
yourself what would happen to electricity that
struck a body of water in contact with the earth.
Good luck. If you need any more clues, let me
Lightning definitely strikes the ocean, many
thousands of times a day. There are about 5
million lightning flashes per day in the world and
even though 70% of the surface of the earth is
covered by water, only10% of lightning hits the
On land lightning is one of the
most dangerous and damaging natural disasters, and
can cause fires and injuries. The temperature of a
bolt is hotter than the surface of the sun, and
lightning can travel at 72 million miles per
The damage from the immense power of
a lightning bolt is caused mainly by electricity
flowing through an object (a tree or person or
house). Since the entire ocean acts as a
conductor, the flow of electricity is spread
across a large volume, and the energy would tend
to go around a fish, rather than through it. It is
like being surrounded by lightning rods, which
give the electricity a clear path to travel.
Therefore, lightning probably doesn't fry many
fish except for fairly near where the bolt
This doesn't meant that it is
safer for you to be out on the ocean in a boat, or
swimming in a pool when there is lightning --
because you stick up out of the water, you will
actually be more likely to be hit.
this page is pretty good.
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