Featured Image: Lightning is a common high energy phenomenon on Earth, like here during a storm over Bucharest, Romania. Image credit: Catalin.Fatu (Wikimedia Commons), CC BY-SA 3.0.
Papaer: Lightning strikes as a major facilitator of prebiotic phosphorus reduction on early Earth
Authors: Benjamin L. Hess, Sandra Piazolo, Jason Harvey
You might think of lightning as a violent and destructive force of nature, but it might have helped to spark life on Earth. The enormous energy released by lightning can weather or even melt rocks. During this short but intense heating phase, the rock’s or soil’s mineralogy changes and a very important element for life becomes available: phosphorus. A group of researches was able to show why the transformation of phosphorus minerals by lightning could have been an important source of this element during Earth’s infancy.
Continue reading “How lightning changes rocks – Reduction of phosphorus minerals”
Paper: Lightning-induced weathering of Cascadian volcanic peaks
Authors: Jonathan M. Castro, Franziska Keller, Yves Feisel, Pierre Lanari, Christoph Helo, Sebastian P. Mueller, C. Ian Schipper, Chad Thomas
The bright flashes followed by the loud thunderclaps of large storms are inherently transient, but a recent study by Castro et al proposes a new approach to investigating the history of storm activity and extreme weather events on Earth: through fossilized lightning strikes, or fulgurites.
Continue reading “When Lightning Strikes! Fulgurite Formation and Earth’s Weather”
Featured Image from Bethany Laird on Unsplash
Paper: Where are the Most Extraordinary Lightning Megaflashes in the Americas?
Author: Michael Peterson
Most lightning flashes only last 0.2 seconds, meaning if you blink at the wrong moment, you could miss it. However, scientists have developed new lightning-detection instruments, known as Geostationary Lightning Mappers (GLMs), that never miss a flash. The GLMs are aboard the two Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES-West and GOES-East), which are in stationary orbits over the Earth’s western hemisphere. With the data from the GLMs, atmospheric scientists have discovered new lightning phenomena called “megaflashes” which can light up the sky for as long as 16 seconds.
Continue reading “Satellite Technology Helps Discover New Weather Phenomena: Lightning Megaflashes”