Lightning can trigger nuclear reactions

Lightning can trigger nuclear reactions

“This made me think of your book,” says reader Ronald Baker. “Imagine the reactions that take place during magnetic reversals.”

In Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps, I presented my belief that magnetic reversals could trigger huge nuclear reactions in the sky, producing Tunguska-like explosions around the globe.

I further proposed that explosions such as the one above Tunguska could dump untold amounts of radioactive materials on our heads, leading to sudden evolutionary leaps.

Now comes a new discovery that helps validate my theories.

Lightning can trigger nuclear reactions, creating rare atomic isotopes,” read the headline in Science magazine.

Rare forms of atoms, like carbon-13, carbon-14, and nitrogen-15, have long been used to date ancient artifacts, the article began.

Until now, scientists thought these rate isotopes were created by complicated cascades of subatomic reactions in the atmosphere triggered by high-energy cosmic rays from outer space.

Now, lightning has been added to the list of isotope initiators.

Carbon-13 is typically formed when high-energy cosmic rays enter the atmosphere and collide with nitrogen-14 atoms, says the article, written by Sid Perkins. The atoms lose a neutron, and the unstable nitrogen-13 atom left behind sheds a neutrino and a positively charged electron, or positron. The reaction produces a stable carbon-13 atom and two gamma rays with a very particular energy that is often used to detect cosmic rays.

But in February, scientists picked up the same signals during a thunderstorm off the Japanese coast. What’s more, the team detected a wider range of gamma rays given off by unstable nitrogen-15 atoms created when free neutrons slammed into nitrogen-14 atoms.

“That means,” the article continues, “that strong bolts of lightning can unleash the same flurry of nuclear reactions as cosmic rays.

What it also means, I might add, is that matter can be created – created! – in the skies right above our heads.

The report was published in Nature magazine on 22 Nov 2017.

Thanks to Ronald Baker for these links

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