Agriculture
Springing forward
Fast-flying fungal spores
Middle school science adventures
Amphibians
Salamanders and Newts
Frogs and Toads
Salamanders
Animals
Sea Giants and Island Pygmies
Lucky Survival for Black Cats
Ultrasonic Frogs Raise the Pitch
Behavior
Brainy bees know two from three
A Recipe for Happiness
World’s largest lizard is venomous too
Birds
Rheas
Geese
Cardinals
Chemistry and Materials
The newest superheavy in town
The science of disappearing
Moon Crash, Splash
Computers
A New Look at Saturn's rings
Games with a Purpose
Small but WISE
Dinosaurs and Fossils
South America's sticky tar pits
Fingerprinting Fossils
Ancient Critter Caught Shedding Its Skin
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Earth
Meteorites may have sparked life on Earth
A Volcano's Deadly Ash
Undersea Vent System Active for Ages
Environment
Improving the Camel
Flu river
Little Bits of Trouble
Finding the Past
Traces of Ancient Campfires
An Ancient Childhood
If Only Bones Could Speak
Fish
Basking Sharks
Marlin
Goldfish
Food and Nutrition
Yummy bugs
In Search of the Perfect French Fry
Building a Food Pyramid
GSAT English Rules
Subject and Verb Agreement
Finding Subjects and Verbs
Pronouns
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
GSAT Scholarship
Ministry of Education Announces 82 GSAT Scholarships for 2010
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT Exam Preparation
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Mathematics
Prime Time for Cicadas
How to Slice a Cake Fairly
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
Human Body
Remembering Facts and Feelings
A Better Flu Shot
Smiles Turn Away Colds
Invertebrates
Sea Anemones
Millipedes
Jellyfish
Mammals
Cornish Rex
Flying Foxes
Siamese Cats
Parents
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Children and Media
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Physics
Spin, Splat, and Scramble
The Particle Zoo
One ring around them all
Plants
Assembling the Tree of Life
Plants Travel Wind Highways
A Change in Leaf Color
Reptiles
Rattlesnakes
Asp
Snapping Turtles
Space and Astronomy
Big Galaxy Swallows Little Galaxy
Gravity Tractor as Asteroid Mover
Rover Makes Splash on Mars
Technology and Engineering
Squeezing Oil from Old Wells
Searching for Alien Life
Toy Challenge
The Parts of Speech
Adjectives and Adverbs
Problems with Prepositions
What is a Verb?
Transportation
Robots on the Road, Again
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Revving Up Green Machines
Weather
Polar Ice Feels the Heat
A Dire Shortage of Water
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
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™