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#128748 - 12/02/03 06:02 AM What Dirt Looks Like after a Lightning Strike!
Joe Tedesco Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 3325
Loc: Boston, Massachusetts USA
Can someone tell us why this "dirt" was turned into a solid mass after a lightning strike?

_________________________
Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant

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#128749 - 12/02/03 08:43 AM Re: What Dirt Looks Like after a Lightning Strike!
resqcapt19 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/00
Posts: 2209
Loc: IL
The current flow through the resistance between the grounding electrode and the earth created enough heat to turn the earth into a form of glass. This has also been found where the lightning has struck the earth directly without a grounding electrode.
Don
_________________________
Don(resqcapt19)

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#128750 - 12/02/03 10:42 AM Re: What Dirt Looks Like after a Lightning Strike!
Bjarney Offline
Moderator

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 2561
Loc: West-Southern Inner-Northeast ...
Silica, a major component of "dirt," was heated to liquefaction and cooled. Fallen overhead conductors can cause a similar condition. One term for the fused material is fulgurite.

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#128751 - 12/02/03 01:48 PM Re: What Dirt Looks Like after a Lightning Strike!
Gwz Offline
Member

Registered: 04/29/02
Posts: 199
JOE !

Do you suppose it is radio-active ?

Glenn

The glass theroy is good.

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#128752 - 12/02/03 02:17 PM Re: What Dirt Looks Like after a Lightning Strike!
NJwirenut Offline
Member

Registered: 09/15/01
Posts: 816
Loc: Bergen County, NJ
Should be no more radioactive than it was before the lightning hit...

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#128753 - 12/02/03 03:32 PM Re: What Dirt Looks Like after a Lightning Strike!
ElectricAL Offline
Member

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 615
Loc: Minneapolis, MN USA
Cool example, Joe.

Following on Bjarney's comment about fallen overhead conductors. . .I once came upon a PoCo line crew repairing a 13.8 kV 3Ø line after one phase had dropped to the sand and gravel along the edge of the alley. The line laid on the ground and "burned" and hopped around and shortened itself leaving a dashed line of fulgurite holes in the sand and gravel. One was long and large enough to stick my hand down into. It was still warm.

Think of this. . .If the ground resistance in the arc is one Ohm, and only 100 amps flows, and the voltage to ground is 8,000 volts, the area in the arc has 0.8 MegaWatts dumped into it!
_________________________
Al Hildenbrand

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#128754 - 12/02/03 05:56 PM Re: What Dirt Looks Like after a Lightning Strike!
Bjarney Offline
Moderator

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 2561
Loc: West-Southern Inner-Northeast ...
Conductor movement with distribution line-to-ground contacts can be unbelievably energetic—appearing almost "cartoon-like".

Never forget that distribution- and transmission-fault voltage gradients in the form of deadly or incapacitating touch {hand-to-foot} and step {foot-to-foot} voltages can be phenomenal, and far exceed that generally expected of the insulating capability of most rubber-soled boots.

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#128755 - 12/04/03 06:28 PM Re: What Dirt Looks Like after a Lightning Strike!
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and
Member

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2724
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
To add on with everyone's great examples;

The Fulgerite (sp???) shown, is the typical result of a succession of current flowing through the same contact point, and performed the same action on the Silica as would be done in a normal Manufacturing process to make Glass.
Simply stated, the high TRUE POWER transfer - in continuous duration - created a high heat in the soil, which fused the Silica crystalline Molecules in the soil, and resulted in the Fulgerite structure.

Most discharge points will result in this formation - as long as they remain continuous in the same point.

When Trees or Wood Poles are involved, things may take one of two results:


    [*] High Current peaks may simply shatter them - without setting fire,
    or

    [*] Succession of current peaks with continuous current will set them on fire.


Similar may be said to happen with conductors - High current short time charges passed through a rubber covered conductor can eliminate the wire, but leave the rubber covering unharmed.
Successive peaks with constant current will barbeque both the conductor and the rubber insulation.

Hollow, or flat conductors, are often crushed by high Lightning currents - owing to both the heating and magnetic effects of the discharge(s).

Many, Many, many-many-many coulombs flowing under an extremely high EMF: results = high transfer of True Power.

Just as impressive as the Fulgerites (to me) are:
* The EXTREMELY LARGE and successive Plasma created during a solid discharge,
* How the Plasma "Pumps" the surrounding air into a HIGH POWER Thunder sound (the successive increase and decrease in the Plasma's size results in the generation of the powerful thunder sound...and as Tim Taylor would say: "Oh, Ohhh, huuh Huuaah!!!"),
* How many pulsations occur during a discharge,
* How many "Aux." discharge points are involved,
* And how the entire event is constructed (includes the discharging from above the Stratosphere into the cloud, then the "Drain" from Stratosphere clouds into the Earth). Within this includes the very large Electrostatic field present in the "Zone", and how it pushes / pulls / moves charges from or to distant locations during the entire event process!

So, does this show my interest in the phenomena, or what! ???

Scott35
_________________________
Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

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#128756 - 12/05/03 12:57 AM Re: What Dirt Looks Like after a Lightning Strike!
Big Jim Offline
Member

Registered: 07/18/03
Posts: 377
Loc: Denver, CO USA
At home, sitting on a shelf, I have something called a "sand dollar". Florida is the lightning capitol of the US, if not the world, and has lots of nice, sandy beaches. When one strikes the other, it often fuses the sand into a fairly flat, circular mass. The ones they collect and sell to the tourists are 2 to 6 or 8 inches around and have various holes near the edges. When you think about melting sand almost instantly, it helps to put the power on lightning into perspective.

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#128757 - 12/05/03 06:17 AM Re: What Dirt Looks Like after a Lightning Strike!
Joe Tedesco Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 3325
Loc: Boston, Massachusetts USA
Thanks!

I wondered about the "solid pile" of dirt for some time, and now have some very useful information that will help many to understand the phenomenon!

Thanks to all who have replied so far!

_________________________
Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant

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