Chronology Current Month Current Thread Current Date
[Year List] [Month List (current year)] [Date Index] [Thread Index] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Prev] [Date Next]

Re: [Phys-L] When lightning strikes the ocean...

So … contrary to intuition (at least bc’s) a lighting strike would be a bulk process instead of a surface one, at least in fresh water. (skin effect works best w/ high conductivity stuff, no?)

bc appreciates being turned on to XKCD’s what ifs, and waiting for JD’s wisdom.

OTOH, the fishing is DC?, while lighting is oscillatory, or at least, fast rise time.

On 2018/Feb/08, at 19:51, Paul Nord <> wrote:

On Thu, Feb 8, 2018 at 6:06 PM, Derek McKenzie <>

Hi all,

I am trying to understand (i.e. reconcile with established
electromagnetic theory) what happens when lightning strikes the surface
of a large body of water, such as an ocean. It appears that empirically
the field/current dissipate mostly radially along the surface of the
water, while only a small amount of energy makes its way vertically
below the surface.

I have searched high and low for an authoritative model, but to no
avail. Some invoke the Faraday Cage principle, whilst others invoke the
Skin Effect, but nothing terribly compelling.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.


Derek McKenzie
Forum for Physics Educators

Forum for Physics Educators