Most Powerful Electrical Storm Ever Recorded Occured in 2014

Most powerful electrical storm ever recorded occurred in 2014 and discovered by a group of Indian researchers. The storm was recorded as 1.3 billion volts.

By studying the amount of muons, Indian researchers were able to estimate the electrical voltage of a storm that occurred in 2014, ten times higher than those observed with the usual means.

1.3 billion volts: this is the impressive voltage measured during a storm that occurred on December 1, 2014 by Indian researchers. As a comparison, the difference in electrical potential between the two points of a flash usually goes up to 100 million volts maximum. But then, how could such a tension be estimated? Most of the time, lightning is studied using balloons or drones, which limits the measure to a part of the storm cloud.

The researchers, whose explanations were published in the journal Physical Review Letters on March 15, used the data from the Grapes-3 telescope, located in Ooty, India, which measures high-energy cosmic ray particles. In particular, it detects muons, negatively charged particles like electrons but 200 times heavier. During a storm, the muon flux captured by the telescope is slowed down by the electric field of the cloud and we can thus estimate the electric potential difference of the latter.

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During the storm of December 1, 2014, the telescope recorded a drop of 2% in the amount of muons, according to their calculations the researchers determined an electrical potential of 1.3 billion volts and a power of 2 billion watts, the equivalent of two medium-sized nuclear reactors. If such tensions were confirmed, they could explain the phenomenon of TGF (Terrestrial Gamma Flashes), terrestrial gamma-ray flashes comparable to cosmic emissions observed during thunderstorms and whose energy can reach 100 MeV.

Abbad Farid

Abbad holds a degree in Journalism from the University of Cumbria and covers mostly world news for The Talking Democrat