Damage caused by ball lightning

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wolram

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Does anyone have pictures or reference to damage caused by BL?
The only major damage report i can find is in this Wiki article

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball_lightning

Look under Esoteric. damage done to a peat bog, is there a better article on this?

I would be most interested in any picture, descriptions, articles.

Thanks.
 

Ivan Seeking

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A long time ago I had a book that was considered to be the definitive text for ball lightning. It was written by a Japanese scientist who pioneered the subject. There were many pictures in the book, including one of a house, I think in Japan, that had a good part of the roof blown off by a ball lightning hit. So I know that at least a few pictures exist, but I don't know where to find them.

That picture made a believer out of me. Before that, I was never sure if this was a real phenomenon or not. And back then, the subject was considered to be a fringe and untrustworthy, much like UFO reports are generally viewed today.
 
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wolram

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A long time ago I had a book that was considered to be the definitive text for ball lightning. It was written by a Japanese scientist who pioneered the subject. There were many pictures in the book, including one of a house, I think in Japan, that had a good part of the roof blown off by a ball lightning hit. So I know that at least a few pictures exist, but I don't know where to find them.
I can not find any good pictures either, i thought that any damage caused by BL would
be an essential part of research, at least one could have a magnitude of energy needed
for said damage, and a footprint.
The fact is forensic evidence seems to be totally ignored.
 

Ivan Seeking

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Not everything available is on the net yet. This is esp true of older books.

You might try a trip to the local library and put in a request. The book that I'm thinking of is surely still around. Just look for a book from the 60s [maybe as late as 71 or 72] written by a Japanese scientist.

I'm sure that part of the problem is that bl is rare, and damage from bl is rarer.
 

wolram

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Thanks Ivan, i will look for the book, by the way it seems, according to the literature, that i have read, that BL is not that rare, many quote , it is as rare as the number of actual whitnessed lightning strikes.
 
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Here's a report quoted in a book I have called Handbook of Unusual Natural Phenomena (by William R. Corliss, Arlington House, Inc. 1986) :

"I was working at the far end of my garden; the weather was normal, no rain, no signs of thunder. Suddenly I seemed to be in the centre of intense blackness and looking down observed at my feet a ball about two feet across. It was of a pale blue-green colour and seemed made of a mass of writhing strings of light, about 1/4 in. in diameter. It remained there for about 3 seconds and then rose, away from me, just missing a poplar tree about 3 ft. away. It cleared the houses by about 20 ft. and landed at the rear of the Weavers Arms on the Bell Green Road, a distance of about 1/4 mile. There was a loud explosion and much damage was done to the public house."

That quote is taken from a journal called Weather, 19:228, 1964.

In another report on the same page a 10 cm diameter ball appeared while a woman was cooking, came at her, and hit her in the crotch ("...below the belt, as it were...") She brushed it away and her hand became red and swollen and her wedding ring seemed to be burning into her. Her dress had a large hole in it, but the edges of this hole were not charred. That report came from Nature, 260:596,1976

Both reports come from England.
 

wolram

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http://wiki.wunderground.com/index.php/Educational_-_Ball_lightning

"During a thunderstorm I saw a large, red hot ball come down from the sky. It struck our house, cut the telephone wire, burnt the window frame,and then buried itself in a tub of water which was underneath.The water boiled for some minutes afterwards, but when it was cool enough for me to search I could find nothing in it."
 

wolram

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http://www.journals.royalsoc.ac.uk/content/dbkl8luptr291dup/fulltext.pdf [Broken]

The following focuses on BL with evidence of unusually high energy. We collected
such data on BL energy content from different literature sources and made necessary
estimations when they were absent in the references. These data and estimates are
presented in table 1, and the energy densities also given in fig. 1 of Bychkov (2002).
The observation cases require the following comments, listed under the case number
used both in table 1 and in the figure.
1. (Grigor’ev 1990, no. 22) A BL was formed from a self-wound luminous filament,
which entered the room through the hole in the wall for electric wires. Then it
exploded 1.5 m from the observer. The observer was a demolition expert later
during his service in the army, and he compared the sound of the explosion
with the explosion of 250–300 g of toluene.
2. (Egely 1987, no. 270c) A group of observers watched an irregular potato-shaped
red object. This BL left a trace of melted sand of plan area 100 mm × 700 mm,
with the depth of ‘a few cm’. For estimates we used the depth of the sand layer
d = 3–10 mm and density of sand 1000–1300 kg m−3 and calculated the energy
necessary for melting of the quartz sand.

And more.
 
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Did you see the stories I posted?
 

wolram

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Did you see the stories I posted?

OOps, Thanks Zooby, I am getting confused, it seems BL must be seperated into many different types, harmless, minor damage, major damage, and even sub types.
 
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OOps, Thanks Zooby, I am getting confused, it seems BL must be seperated into many different types, harmless, minor damage, major damage, and even sub types.
That's what this author says:

"One reason ball lightning resists exlanation is that its nature is so variable. It may be as small as a pea or as large as a house. It may be violet, red, or yellow, or may even change colors during its brief life. The shape of ball lightning is usually spherical, but rods, dumbbells, spiked balls, and other shapes have been sighted. Sometimes ball lightning appears to have internal structure; strange appendages may accompany the main body of the phenomenon.

"Ball lightning is a dynamic thing. It may glide silently and disinterestedly past an observer or it may inquisitively explore a room as if directed by intelligence. While many of these enigmatic apparitions dematerialize silently, most seem to explode violently."

op cit pp 17-18
 

wolram

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There are all so reports of BL originating from below water, and yet other reports that say water (extinguished ) the BL, it makes me wonder if there are not totally different types.
 

wolram

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http://www.innovations-report.de/html/berichte/geowissenschaften/bericht-6781.html [Broken]

This theme issue of Philosophical Transactions A (a Royal Society journal) deals with the phenomenon of ball lightning, a rarely seen and slow-moving luminous phenomenon usually associated with thunderstorms. A collection of previously unpublished sightings is presented, including close-up encounters describing the detailed internal structure of the balls. Many of these observations are from scientifically or technically trained people, probably doubling the number of such observations available in the literature.
A particularly spectacular image of a 100 metre diameter ball observed over five minutes at night in the Australian outback is presented and available for media use

How to find this ?
 
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Ivan Seeking

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Also, probably an unrelated phenomenon but still interesting are the Naga fire-balls.
http://www.tatnews.org/emagazine/1611.asp [Broken]

We have quite a few very good links in the Napster. See the sections on ball lightning, earthlights, and fireball phenomena.
 
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In case you haven't seen them, here are a couple of photos of what may be ball lightning, from the Credible Anomalies Napster, at the top of the S&D main page.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/628709.stm
Eh? This is amazing!

Now, John Abrahamson and James Dinniss, from the University of Canterbury, NZ, have put forward the theory that these ethereal objects are nothing more than burning particles of silicon.

Their experiments show that when ordinary forked lightning hits the ground, mineral grains in the soil can be converted into tiny particles of silicon and its compounds with oxygen and carbon.
Burning silicon?

As you may know:

On Earth, silicon is the second most abundant element (after oxygen) in the crust, making up 25.7% of the crust by mass.
Ball lightning may be the key to a hitherto untapped, nearly inexhaustible energy source.
 
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Also, probably an unrelated phenomenon but still interesting are the Naga fire-balls.
http://www.tatnews.org/emagazine/1611.asp [Broken]

We have quite a few very good links in the Napster. See the sections on ball lightning, earthlights, and fireball phenomena.
The appearance of the King of Naga fireballs involves the simultaneous interplay of several forces of nature. These include the presence of conditions that are conducive to the formation of Methane-Nitrogen gas with 19% level of purity, the presence of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria co-existing in a habitat at depths of 4.55 to 13.40 metres with organic deposits forming on a bed of clay or sand, average surrounding temperatures of higher than 26?C at 10.00, 13.00 and 16.00 hours, and a PH value between 6.4 to 7.8.

As the sun warms the surface of the clay or sand bed, organic matter decomposes within 3 to 6 hours and begins to emit methane gas. Pressure builds up and the gas rises to the surface of the water. Bubbles of gas exceeding 15cc dissipate leaving behind a 12cc nucleas that floats upwards. The gas reacts with the oxygen in the air and instantly ignites. 95% of the balls of light seen are ruby-red with pinkish-red or crimson-burgundy hues. This explains why these balls of light are of uniform colour, do not emit flares, smoke or sound, and eventually dissolve into thin air without leaving a trace.

The frequency and intensity of the fireballs also vary according to several other factors such as the distance of the earth relative to the sun and moon, the intensity of "B" and "C" ultraviolet rays, and a extent of the depletion of the ozone layer in the stratosphere.

Tracking studies have indicated that there is much greater likelihood of the phenomenon occurring in the months of March to May, and September and October, on days when the earth gravitates closest to the sun and moon, and the depletion of the ozone layer allows ultraviolet rays to easily penetrate the stratosphere.

Based on these studies, the two absolute indicators for the formation of King of Naga fireballs are the presence of Methane-Nitrogen gases of 19% purity and a sufficient concentration of Ionized Atomic Oxygen to trigger a reaction called "heterogenous combustion" that results in the mystical glow of the fireballs.
http://www.tatnews.org/emagazine/1611.asp#11 [Broken]

What do you suppose "Ionized Atomic Oxygen" means? I'm not sure what that would be.
 
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In case you haven't seen them, here are a couple of photos of what may be ball lightning, from the Credible Anomalies Napster, at the top of the S&D main page.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/628709.stm
I'm still thinking about this. If you can burn silicon then reducing sand and other natural sources of silicon to pure silicon might be a very nifty way to store energy. It seems to me that it has to be automatically more compact than hydrogen. Burning it, I assume, would result in SO2 particles which are, at least, inert and non-poisonous, and recyclable to pure silicon.
 
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http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2007NRL.....2..319M

This theory uses clouds of nano batteries.
I just googled and found out that silicon is prepared by passing high amperage current through SO2 with carbon electrodes. Sand (silica or SO2), carbon (from decayed plant matter, old fires, etc), and high current are all normally present during any electrical storm.

A lot of pure elements are prepared by electrolysis and, depending on the local soil a lightning strike might purify any one of a number of very reactive and electrically conductive elements and also split water in the soil to hydrogen and oxygen.

I'd say the best bet for recreating ball lightning (be it burning silicon filaments or nano batteries) in the lab would be to get a huge Van de Graff generator and start zapping soils samples hoping to find the winning soil formula by trial and error.
 
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Ivan Seeking

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What do you suppose "Ionized Atomic Oxygen" means? I'm not sure what that would be.
That would be one Oxygen atom with some charge added or stripped away, as opposed to a charge surplus or defiency on O2. Normally oxygen wants to assume the form of O2 [the form of oxygen that we breath], or O3, which is ozone.
 
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wolram

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I just googled and found out that silicon is prepared by passing high amperage current through SO2 with carbon electrodes. Sand (silica or SO2), carbon (from decayed plant matter, old fires, etc), and high current are all normally present during any electrical storm.
The vexing thing is some events are witnessed were there is no lightning, it has been argued in one of the papers i read ,that a rapidly rotating air mass can produce BL, i am not sure how much current could be produced by a whirlwind, or if this current could interact with particles sucked into it in the same way a ground strike would.
 

Ivan Seeking

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I've always found this report to be particularly striking [also from our Napster]. It is associated directly with an earthquake, but it sounds like a typical ball lightning report.

"Fireballs a few metres in diameter often popped out of the ground in a repetitive manner at distances of up to only a few metres away from the observers. Others were seen several hundred metres up in the sky, stationary or moving. Some observers described dripping luminescent droplets, rapidly disappearing a few metres under the stationary fireballs. Only two fire-tongues on the ground were reported, one on snow and the other on a paved parking space without any apparent surface fissure. The colours most often identified were orange, yellow, white and green. Some luminosities lasted up to 12 min."
http://www.science-frontiers.com/sf074/sf074g14.htm
 
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Ivan Seeking

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Also, a rather interesting video taken from a police helicopter in Long Beach, Ca.

The target was never identified.
 
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wolram

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To sum up BL is connected with,

Volcanos, earth quakes, rapidly rotating air mass, lightning strikes, any others?
 

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