To induce a lightning strike, researchers fire a rocket dragging a wire into an approaching electrical storm. If they are lucky, current will flow from the cloud, through the wire, to the ground, and vaporize the wire. If scientists witness a second lightning strike, it typically follows the path of the vaporized wire...but not always. On this particular dark and stormy afternoon in Florida, most of the wire exploded. But a second bolt, which burst from where the top of the wire had been, took a circuitous route, fracturing into multiple branches as it approached ground, said William Gamerota, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Florida and lead author of the paper about this uncommon event. He and his colleagues report on the anomalous lightning strike in an article accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, a publication of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). Read the full story on the AGU GeoSpace blog: http://wp.me/p1t6VA-Ef.
Video Courtesy of:
Lightning Research Laboratory,
University of Florida.
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