Nature Notebook – When lightning strikes

Heard an interesting question that I wanted to share. If it is dangerous for humans to be in water when lightning strikes, what happens to the fish?

Nothing…IF they are below the surface when the strike occurs.

Lightning develops when a charge builds up in a cloud and the opposite charge builds up on earth (either ground or water). Because water conducts electricity so well, the increasing charge collects at the surface…trying to meet up with its opposite charge in the cloud. When the two charges meet, electricity is discharged.

The released electricity travels across, not underneath, the surface (ground of water). If the fish stay below the surface they are untouched. However, if they choose that moment to snag a fly…oops!