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The Importance of Catastrophism
by Michael Armstrong

Matthew Pasek, professor of geosciences at University of South Florida, published an article in www.theconversation.com titled "Catching lightning in a fossil and calculating how much energy a strike contains."

This is an important article because it shows once again that without an understanding of ancient catastrophism one just CANNOT get the context for the truth in so very many areas. The article is about a study of fulgarites where they are trying to estimate the power of lightning strikes by measuring the size and length of the fulgarites found around the earth.

"So based on our calculations, how close does Hollywood come, with estimates like in Back to the Future of 1.21 gigawatts of power in lightning? Power is energy per time, and our measurements of fulgurites suggest that megajoules of energy make rock in thousandths to millionths of seconds.

"So a gigawatt is actually on the low side – lightning power may be a thousand times that, reaching into the terawatts, though the average is probably tens of gigawatts." - MATTHEW PASEK, "There's way more energy in a bolt of lightning than we thought."

Guess what? There is a huge and disturbing anomaly that they have found, i.e., that the larger strikes are far outside the average. Of course, they don’t have a clue that the larger fulgarites could have (probably have) been caused by INTER-PLANETARY DISCHARGES, which would dwarf our normally experienced lightning. This leaves them thinking what is in the quote you provided below, that lightning may be up to 1000 times as powerful as is actually the case.

"An oddity in the pattern

When we looked at these fulgurites in depth, something odd came out of the data. Our energy measurements followed something called a 'lognormal' trend.

Rather than following the bell curve we often see in the distribution of natural phenomena – like, for instance, the heights of American men – the energy curve was less equally balanced. For heights, the same number of men are two inches above average as are two inches below.

But for lightning, the large lightning strikes were much larger than the average, while the smaller strikes were not so much smaller than the average. Strikes that were twice the average were as frequent as those that were half the average.

Now why might this be at all interesting or useful? Measuring the energy in lightning is a way of measuring potential damage: A lightning strike can vaporise rock, so what might it do to wood or electronics?

Our measurements show that the biggest lightning strikes are multiples of the average lightning strikes: A big one might be 20 times as large as the average.

There is not the slightest indication in the article that any one of the scientists even asked the question as to whether they should consider ancient thunderbolts. Uniformitarian thinking is still alive and well. Every geologist should be exposed (have his nose rubbed in?) to this article and the issue.

For important information on a historic cometary catastrophe see:

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