1. Equivalent Events
Energy released per million ergs (erg = unit of work):
| 100 watt lightbulb
left on for a week
| One ton car going 25 mph
| Amount of energy
in a lightning bolt
| Seismic wave from 1 kiloton explosion
| 1980 eruption
of Mt. St. Helens
| Annual US energy consumption
2. Earliest Electrical Experiments
Thales, the Greek philosopher, in about 600 B.C., found that
a piece of amber when rubbed briskly with a dry cloth would attract
feathers or straw. Wm. Gilbert, the court physician to Queen Elizabeth
in the 1500's, repeated this experiment and named the science
of studying it vis electrica. The Greek word electra means amber.
Our word for electricity is derived from this.
3. Major Lightning Disasters
Case Study A: On Saturday, July 10, 1926 a violent thunder
and lightning storm struck the Navy Ammunition Depot near Mount
Hope, NJ. Three major explosions from millions of pounds of
TNT obliterated nearby buildings. Shells landed a mile away.
Glass was broken three miles away by the acoustic shock wave.
Smoke could be seen in New York, some 40 miles away. Nineteen
people died - thirty-eight were wounded. Congress appropriated
$2.3 million to rebuild the site in 1927.
Case Study B: The giant airship Hindenburg, 803 feet long,
arrived at Lakehurst NJ on May 6, 1937. The crew dropped two
400-foot-long mooring lines onto the wet sand below. The wet
ropes served as conductors, bringing the ground potential gradient
up to the ship. A hydrogen leak at Cell 4 or 5, combining with
air, was ignited by the brush discharge. Ninety seven passengers
and crew perished.
4. Nature's Weather Forecasters
a. Count the number of cricket chirps in 14 seconds. Add 40.
The total will equal the air temperature in F. within one degree.
b. If spiders leave their webs expect a storm. If they work
when it is raining, expect a short storm.
if green in color, rain will continue; if
red is the dominant color, look for wind and rain; if blue is
strong, the air is clearing; if the rainbow is broken in 2-3
places, look for rainy weather for 2-3 days.
5. From Guiness Book of World Records:
Highest recorded temp. =
|| 134 F, Death Valley CA.
Lowest recorded temp. =
|| -128.6 F, Vostok, Antartica.
Most snow per year =
|| 1,224.5 inches, Mr. Ranier,
Most lightning on average =
|| Kampala, Uganda (280
thunderstorm days per year on annual average, per World Meteorological
The total amount of rain, snow, and other moisture falling on the
surface of the earth annually is equal to ten million gallons for
every person on the planet.
(The above data was plagiarized from various
sources by R. Kithil)