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Curious Facts about Lightning


Unarguably, lightning is among the most eye-catching of natural occurrences. Besides a healthy respect, lightning flashes induce awe with their all-powerful magnificence. In essence they are an electric charge in the atmosphere, normally occurring during a storm. When the discharge looks linear, it's called lightning. Here are a few curious facts about lightning:

More than 25 million streaks of lightning flash across Earth's surface annually. If divided equally among the number of days that means 100 per second.

Each lightning flash lasts no longer than 3/4 of a second. Despite this, in its final phase, a surge of lightning is more than 5 mi (8 km) in length.

Lightning flashes are 5 times hotter than the surface of the Sun. They reach temperatures of 50430°F (28000 °C).

Because of its specific geographical location, lightning occurs in Egypt only once every 200 years. And as such, the country ranks last in the number of people killed by lightning strikes.

Amazingly, lightning flashes are exceptionally beneficial for agriculture. They saturate the atmosphere with nitrogen and when they come into contact with the ground they enrich the soil with it.

Lightning is intricately connected to life on Earth. It helps form the ozone, occurring when the potent electrical charge of the lightning goes through the atmosphere.

There are several types of lightning flashes, the most recent having been discovered in 1989 and called "sprites". They are cone-shaped and emit a dimmer shine than the rest.

In contrast, their duration is 5 seconds and they can occur at altitudes of 62 mi (100 km).

The latest studies have shown that the chance of being struck by lightning is not 1 in a million but 1 in 2 million.

The probability for a person to survive a lightning strike is quite high - calculations indicate a 71% chance. Further, if the person is wearing wet clothes, they have a greater chance of survival.