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quote:Subject: Fish, Does Lightning Strike Them?Dagmar Fertl (Dagmar_Fertl@mms.gov)Wed, 4 Feb 1998 15:04:45 -0500 * Messages sorted by: [ date ][ thread ][ subject ][ author ] * Next message: Dagmar Fertl: "Killer whale is a dolphin" * Previous message: Dagmar Fertl: "pollution and whales" Hi Jamie, wow, what a question. I asked a meteorologist friend at work about this one. This is what we came up with. Fish can be killed by lightning. Water conducts electricity really well (that's why they tell you to not play a radio or use a hairdryer in the bathtub or near water). My friend told me that when she was a little kid, that sometimes kids would go to a nearby creek and catch fish and throw them into the swimming pool during a storm, and they certainly did die when lightning hit the water. We agree with you in one respect that it has something to do with how lightning travels in the water. As you probably know well, lightning is attracted to metal and anything that is tall. A swimming pool is reinforced with metal rods under the concrete, so that's probably why those fish in the swimming pool died during a lightning strike. That's also why you're not allowed to swim in a pool during a thunderstorm. We know that fish in creeks are in very shallow water and should be zapped by lightning pretty well if it was to hit the water. We think that those fish probably don't get hit much since there are usually trees or something that would attract the lightning. A fish in the open ocean faces a different situation. Salt water conducts electricity really well (has to do with the minerals and ions in the water). We guess that when lightning hits the ocean's surface, the charge dissipates very quickly at the water's surface and probably isn't a big threat to the fish. Also, anything floating on the ocean or standing in it (like a drilling platform or ship) would attract the lightning. For that same reason, when I go out to sea to do whale research, as soon as we see lightning, we're told that we have to go into the inside of the ship because the ship would probably be easily hit by lightning (as well as any people standing up high on the flying bridge). Thanks for your really great question. I learned a lot myself. I know this doesn't really answer your question, but I hope it helps. Dagmar______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________Subject: Does Lightning Strike Fish?Author: RGNAB@aol.com at ~smtpDate: 2/4/98 1:03 PMHelp! My name is Jamie, and I'm desperately trying to find information for my fifth grade science project. I'm not having any luck using the encyclopedia's or books in our library. My question is: Why aren't fish killed by lighting? I know that game wardens use electrodes to stun the fish during catches to chart growth. I think that the fish must sense the weather change and go deep. I also thought that maybe the way lighting travels in the water might have something to do with it. I live on a 32 acre lake in Tennessee, and we never see any fish belly up after a storm. Help! Why is this? * Next message: Dagmar Fertl: "Killer whale is a dolphin" * Previous message: Dagmar Fertl: "pollution and whales"