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On the possible mechanism of keraunographic markings on lightning victims
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Electricity.
Karolinska Univ Hosp, Dept Clin Neurosci, Stockholm, Sweden..
Karolinska Univ Hosp, Dept Clin Neurosci, Stockholm, Sweden..
2015 (English)In: Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, ISSN 1364-6826, E-ISSN 1879-1824, Vol. 136, no Part A, 119-123 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

During a lightning strike to a human the high electric field that exists at the point of contact of the lightning flash can generate electrical discharges known as streamer discharges along the skin. Previous research work has shown that the electric field at the head of these streamer discharges are large enough to accelerate electrons to relativistic speeds. In this paper it is shown that the streamers propagating along the skin will bombard the skin with energetic electrons. In this paper an estimation of the energy dissipated by these energetic electrons on the skin is estimated. Since beta radiation generated by radioactive substances consists of energetic electrons the effects of the energetic electrons generated by streamer discharges would be similar to the effects caused by low level beta radiation. It is suggested that the feather like marks, called keraunographical marks, that is sometimes observed on the skin of lightning victims is a result of superficial radiation injury with following inflammation in the epidermis and superficial layers of the dermis caused by energetic electrons.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 136, no Part A, 119-123 p.
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-274296DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2015.06.006ISI: 000366789900016OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-274296DiVA: diva2:897782
Swedish Research Council, 621-2012-3300
Available from: 2016-01-26 Created: 2016-01-20 Last updated: 2016-02-23Bibliographically approved

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