February 6, 2023
Why is a lightning bolt zigzag?  Science reveals the mystery

Why is a lightning bolt zigzag? Science reveals the mystery

  • John Locke
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attributed to him, Getty Images

Illustrative image,

The rise of extreme weather events means that lightning protection is becoming increasingly important.

No one had ever seen lightning and marveled at its power.

But despite their frequency — some 8.6 million lightning strikes occur around the world each day — why they persist as if by a series of steps from the charged cloud to the ground remains a mystery.

There are a few books on lightning, but none of them explain how these “zigzags” (called steps) are formed, or how lightning is able to travel for miles. But my recent research provides an explanation.

The intense electric fields of the charged clouds excite the electrons until they have enough energy to form what are known as “delta-single oxygen molecules”.