There’s a reason why fishes in the ocean aren’t often electrocuted by lightning strikes.

Have you ever been in a bathtub yet you had your hairdryer? We guess not. Those water molecules together with the foaming soap is a sweet conductor of electricity, so its a good advice you didn’t do so. Now, have you ever wondered what happens to fishes when lightning strikes? Seawater — chemically known as brine — is a sweet conductor of electricity; so why don’t thunderstorms kill off marine species very often? Here’s why.


Related media: When Lightning Strikes | Wicked Tuna


How Does Zeus Strikes?

These are quite a number of reasons why, but here’s the most compelling reason: Lightning strikes doesn’t hit the oceans that much as it does over land. In 2014, the Journal of Geophysical Research published a map that gathered together a five-year data of global lighting strikes from two weather satellites. The analyzed data revealed that lightning strikes over land 10 times more often than it does over the oceans.

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Earth Observatory, this makes pretty much sense because of the formation of lightning in the first place to begin with. The solid crust of the Earth absorbs sunlight and gets heated up much faster than oceans do. This intern causes the convection of the heat in the soil and an instability in the atmosphere since some of that heat tends to rise up, which in turn causes more lightning-producing storms to form.


Why Is Zeus Missing The Target?

Yet still, lighting does strike the oceans sometimes, though its not as impactful as over land. So, why in the ocean in the sweet name of trying to find Nimo doesn’t that kill marine life in the thousands? Short answer: physics, but we’ll explain.

Just like metal, seawater is a very good conductor of electricity — considering all that brine — so it encourages the electric current to travel over the surface of the ocean rather than delving underneath. This is the same thing that happens with a Faraday cage protecting it’s contents from potential fluctuations. But if any fish happen to surface at the right (wrong) time the lightning is striking, then it would certainly take that bolt from Zeus; but fortunately, most fish spend the majority of their time underwater. People don’t, however, which is why you should immediately get out of the water if a storm is approaching.


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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Sun, Mar 10, 2019.


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