Could cosmic rays delivered through lightning be the cause of genetic mutation ?

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Offline petrovitch

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Could cosmic rays delivered through lightning be the cause of genetic mutation of plant and animal life?






mode edit: Please make thread titles into questions in line with forum protocol. It's best for you.
« Last Edit: 01/01/2010 11:26:34 by neilep »

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Offline LeeE

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Any ionising radiation can result in genetic mutation; that's how evolution works.  By definition though, cosmic rays come from outer space and aren't connected with lightning, which is an atmospheric phenomenon.

While lightning generates lots of EM radiation, I don't think that any of it has a short enough wavelength to be ionising i.e. I don't think that lighting produces any gamma radiation.  Alpha and beta radiation are the result of nuclear decay, and I don't think any of that occurs in lightning either, but in any case, if alpha and beta were produced by lightning, I think you'd have to be uncomfortably close to the lightning bolt to be affected by it.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

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Offline RD

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I had heard lightning produced X-rays, but this article says Gamma-rays too ...

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It has been recently revealed that most lightning emits an intense burst of X-rays and/or gamma-rays which seem to be produced during the stepped-leader and dart-leader phases just before the stroke becomes visible. The X-ray bursts typically have a total duration of less than 100 microseconds and have energies extending up to nearly a few hundred KeV. The presence of these high-energy events match and support the "runaway breakdown" theory, and were discovered through the examination of rocket triggered lightning, and from satellite monitoring of natural lightning.
http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Lightning#Runaway_breakdown_theory
« Last Edit: 02/01/2010 17:45:37 by RD »

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Offline LeeE

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Ta for posting that RD.  Live and learn.

It looks like mutations could indeed be caused by lightning.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!