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July 24, 2007 4:57 AM Subscribe
Lightning. Why does it always go to ground?
posted by Solomon to science & nature (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I had to drive through a storm a few days ago, complete with heavy rain, thunder and lightning strikes. I got to thinking - why does lightning (or electricity) always seek the earth? Why doesn't lightning stay in the cloud? Why does it have to "go somewhere"? Why don't I ever see lightning damage? I figure that all that energy striking a tree has to do it some damage, but compared to the amount of lightning storms I've seen, I've only ever seen one potentially lightning damaged tree.
I realise that I should probably have paid more attention in physics class at school, but it's a bit late for that now. So I'm turning the AskMeFi to educate me instead.
Please be warned that I never was able to grasp much of physics, so bonus points are available to anyone who can explain it in simple terms. :)