Author Options:

How can you NOT be melted on the spot??? Answered

If a Bolt of lightning is 30,000C and someone gets hit by it how can they not get vaporized on the spot?? I mean that HOTTER than the sun.


One family (whom I have very little sympathy for--they were on a ridgeline at lightning-o-clock. That's electrical Russian roulette) got hit by lightning recently in Aspen. They're Colorado locals, and say prayer saved their lives. I say that a little common sense would have saved them getting hit in the first place. Anyway, the lightning burned holes in the bottoms of their socks. Vaporized, from the looks of it. It's documented that some peoples' clothes are smouldering after a strike. A single bolt doesn't have the energy to vaporizre a whole person, but it can vaporize articles of clothing, cause internal burns, and if the path it takes through your body is just wrong, fry your nerves. It can vaporize small patches of skin. I've seen lightning literally blow limbs off of trees, and I know that it has enough energy to leave a manhole-sized crater in the parking lot five inches deep. Mostly that's from steam explosions, though, since the water flashes instantly to steam when the electicity hits it.

Contact time is milliseconds, and lightning has like zero amps, most damage is caused by amps over voltage. Still, it does cause sutface burns, and can lead to burns appearing on the body at a later time if immediate medical attention is not provided. Most lightning deaths are cause by residual damage due to lack of care. Or at least I've read such. That what they taught us in our emergency care class as well.

Voltage, amperage, and resistance... What a muddled mess of numbers. I find it easier to think of electricity as a limited water analogy. Voltage is a potential difference, meaning a measurement of how different two objects are in charge. In the analogy, this could be represented by the height of a body of water. It could potentially drain 1000 feet into a container, but the method of doing so is varied. You could pipe it through a straw with a slope of 1/10, and that would make the water run slowly. Or you could drop it through a huge six-foot diameter pipe with a slope of 1000, and it would go very quickly with a lot of pressure. In a similar way, lightning is the representation of a "lake" of water flowing down to another container, and if it passes through a person, they act as a sort of "rock" in the piping that slows it down a bit. The amount of resistance an object has determines how much amperage the voltage will push through it. People have a wide range of resistance, from a wettened 1,000 Ohms to a dry 500 kOhms. This would cause the 100 - 300,000 Kilovolts of lightning to deliver between 0.2 to 300 amps. Since lightning is static electricity, it transmits very quickly, and time is what electricity also needs in order to kill. It does not usually travel through the heart, and as such only causes fibrillation about 20 percent of the time. Bottom line: the human body is a terrible conductor, and lightning is often too transient to produce lasting effects.


10 years ago

It seems interesting to me that some people who were directly hit by lightning while holding a golf club, when they were struck they jumped an incredible height into the air, maybe 30 feet (10 m), and had some burns but those who recovered didn't remember it. An old discovery that muscles are powered by electricity normally supplied by nerves, but specifically frog legs connected to a battery inspired the original story of the frankenstein monster due to an apparent relationship between electricity and "life", which seems somewhat still implied by the effectiveness of defibrillation devices on bringing people back to life after hearts stop beating.

. For one thing, very few ppl get hit by a direct strike. Water in trees is frequently vaporized.

I've known a couple of people who were struck, but both were indirect. I saw my youngest boy get shocked by lightning while playing a videogame. The wire and controller lit up with a flash, and he yelled (like a girl). The same strike fried our heatpump and TV. Also, the person is just conduit. The lightning is headed for ground.

Think that's why they say not to play them during a storm. Curious though, did the game system survive? I doubt it, but wondering.

Yeah, at least he wasn't standing in the shower! Amazingly the video game survived. I was surprised too, because I saw the flash travel the wire and into the controller.

> he yelled (like a girl) . Been there. Done that (not lightning, but I have been bit by 480). I don't blame him a bit - it HURTS!


10 years ago

Depending where on the sun? Surface Temp - 5,500° Celsius Core Temp - 15,000,000° Celsius

Well that nice to know but it doesn't answer my question.

High voltage, low actual energy. Electricity may give internal burns, but that's seem mostly with man-made jolts.

It's similar to how you can stick your bare hand in a 450o F oven without burning, the hot air molecules don't have much energy. Just don't touch any surfaces and you're fine. Technically speaking, you may be getting pelted with particles that are at way over a thousand degrees temperature all day long, but they're so few and impart so little energy you just don't notice.

I think it's because it's so fast.

well, I don't know if it applies, but here's an analogy (still using electricity). You plug a toaster into your wall you start toasting your toast why is the heating elements getting really hot and the wire to the outlet isn't? Also I think whenever you get struck by lighting your shoes and some clothes fly off cause some of the water is being vaporized