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

In a conductive fluid, current normal to the surface is
opposed by a back EMF which is greater than that
opposing surface current?
In macroscopic terms, the sea floor is likely to have
higher resistivity than brine, so a radial flow is somewhat

Brian W

On 2/8/2018 6:06 PM, Derek McKenzie wrote:
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