Agriculture
Fast-flying fungal spores
Watching out for vultures
Protecting Cows—and People—from a Deadly Disease
Amphibians
Bullfrogs
Tree Frogs
Newts
Animals
New Monkey Business
Living in the Desert
New Elephant-Shrew
Behavior
Double take
Two monkeys see a more colorful world
The Colorful World of Synesthesia
Birds
Blue Jays
Kiwis
Macaws
Chemistry and Materials
Smelly Traps for Lampreys
Pencil Thin
Mother-of-Pearl on Ice
Computers
Nonstop Robot
Supersonic Splash
Toxic Dirt + Avian Flu = Science Fair Success
Dinosaurs and Fossils
An Ancient Feathered Biplane
Battling Mastodons
Downsized Dinosaurs
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
Undersea Vent System Active for Ages
A Great Quake Coming?
Slower Growth, Greater Warmth
Environment
Groundwater and the Water Cycle
City Trees Beat Country Trees
Alien Invasions
Finding the Past
Traces of Ancient Campfires
A Volcano's Deadly Ash
Writing on eggshells
Fish
Eels
Flashlight Fishes
Mako Sharks
Food and Nutrition
Recipe for Health
Sponges' secret weapon
Packing Fat
GSAT English Rules
Order of Adjectives
Pronouns
Who vs. Whom
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
Tarrant High overcoming the odds
Scotiabank Jamaica Foundation Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) Scholarships
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Mathematics
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
A Sweet Advance in Candy Packing
Monkeys Count
Human Body
Gut Microbes and Weight
Dreaming makes perfect
Taking the sting out of scorpion venom
Invertebrates
Giant Clam
Tarantula
Dragonflies
Mammals
Beavers
Sea Lions
Primates
Parents
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Physics
Hold on to your stars, ladies and gentlemen
Einstein's Skateboard
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
Plants
Fast-flying fungal spores
When Fungi and Algae Marry
Nature's Alphabet
Reptiles
Turtles
Pythons
Asp
Space and Astronomy
Supernovas Shed Light on Dark Energy
An Earthlike Planet
Solving a Sedna Mystery
Technology and Engineering
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Young Scientists Take Flight
Drawing Energy out of Wastewater
The Parts of Speech
What is a Preposition?
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Problems with Prepositions
Transportation
Ready, unplug, drive
Where rivers run uphill
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Weather
Catching Some Rays
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
Watering the Air
Add your Article

Petrified Lightning

Lightning has amazing powers. One bolt heats the air to 30,000 degrees C. That's five times as hot as the surface of the sun. Lightning can frighten pets and kids, start fires, destroy trees, and kill people. Lightning also has the power to make glass. When a bolt of lightning strikes a sandy surface, the electricity can melt the sand. This melted substance combines with other materials. Then it hardens into lumps of glass called fulgurites. (Fulgur is the Latin word for lightning.) Now, scientists are studying fulgurites in Egypt to piece together a history of the region's climate. Thunderstorms are rare in the desert of southwest Egypt. Between 1998 and 2005, satellites in space detected hardly any lightning in the area. Amid the region's sandy dunes, however, fulgurites are common. These lumps and tubes of glass suggest that lightning used to strike there more often in the past. Recently, scientists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City studied fulgurites that had been collected in Egypt in 1999. When heated, minerals in fulgurites glow. Over time, exposure to natural radiation causes small defects in the glassy fulgurites. The older the material is, the more defects there are, and the stronger the minerals glow at certain wavelengths of light when they're heated. By measuring the intensity of the glow when the samples were heated, the researchers found that the fulgurites formed around 15,000 years ago. The scientists, for the first time, also looked at the gases trapped inside bubbles in the glass. Their chemical analyses showed that the landscape could have supported shrubs and grasses 15,000 years ago. Now, there's only sand. Today, shrubs and grasses grow in the hot, dry climate of Niger, 600 kilometers (375 miles) south of the Egypt site. The researchers suspect that, when the fulgurites were created, the climate in southwest Egypt was similar to present-day conditions in Niger. Fulgurites and their gas bubbles are good windows into the past, scientists say, because such glasses remain stable over time. Analyzing the Egyptian fulgurites, in particular, is "an interesting way of showing that the climate in this region has changed," says Kenneth E. Pickering, an atmospheric scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Even if you're afraid of thunderstorms, the amazing powers of lightning are bound to impress you! And lightning strikes can even tell a story of ancient times.—E. Sohn

Petrified Lightning
Petrified Lightning








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™