Agriculture
Flush-Free Fertilizer
Protecting Cows—and People—from a Deadly Disease
Seeds of the Future
Amphibians
Toads
Tree Frogs
Newts
Animals
Sleepless at Sea
Who's Knocking?
Life on the Down Low
Behavior
A Global Warming Flap
Mind-reading Machine
Pondering the puzzling platypus
Birds
Cardinals
Eagles
Seagulls
Chemistry and Materials
Sweeeet! The Skinny on Sugar Substitutes
Getting the dirt on carbon
Big Machine Reveals Small Worlds
Computers
It's a Small E-mail World After All
A New Look at Saturn's rings
Games with a Purpose
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Dinosaurs Grow Up
A Rainforest Trapped in Amber
Fingerprinting Fossils
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
Farms sprout in cities
Rocking the House
Challenging the Forces of Nature
Environment
Seabirds Deliver Arctic Pollutants
Fungus Hunt
Snow Traps
Finding the Past
Decoding a Beverage Jar
A Long Haul
Settling the Americas
Fish
Sting Ray
Mako Sharks
Dogfish
Food and Nutrition
How Super Are Superfruits?
Recipe for Health
Strong Bones for Life
GSAT English Rules
Finding Subjects and Verbs
Who vs. That vs. Which
Who vs. Whom
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
Preparing for the GSAT Exam
Tarrant High overcoming the odds
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Mathematics
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
Math and our number sense: PassGSAT.com
Math Naturals
Human Body
Surviving Olympic Heat
Workouts: Does Stretching Help?
What the appendix is good for
Invertebrates
Bees
Invertebrates
Arachnids
Mammals
African Wild Dog
Gerbils
Bobcats
Parents
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Physics
Hold on to your stars, ladies and gentlemen
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
Black Hole Journey
Plants
Surprise Visitor
Tracking the Sun Improves Plant Pollen
The algae invasion
Reptiles
Box Turtles
Geckos
Gila Monsters
Space and Astronomy
Phantom Energy and the Big Rip
A Planet from the Early Universe
Solving a Sedna Mystery
Technology and Engineering
Supersuits for Superheroes
Searching for Alien Life
Toy Challenge
The Parts of Speech
What is a Preposition?
What is a Noun
Pronouns
Transportation
Robots on the Road, Again
Troubles with Hubble
Charged cars that would charge
Weather
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
Polar Ice Feels the Heat
Recipe for a Hurricane
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™