Subject: Re: Lightning and Fish

n.patenaude@auckland.ac.nz
Fri, 14 Mar 1997 16:45:47 GMT+1200

Could you tell me why fish don't get electrocuted when lightning strikes the water?

                                                    Bryan Henschen
                                                     5th Grade
                                                     www.henschen@visuallink.com 


Dear Brian,  

good question! (Although this is a marine mammal web site !).  The thing is that lightning 
is very high in voltage but low in current.  The ocean is such a large volume of water 
compared to the current that that current density of the electrical discharge is way too 
small to electrocute anything. In other words,  when lightning hits water it dissipates in 
every direction at a time, so the actual charge per unit of water is quite low.  Mind you, 
if you had fish in a really small pond and lightning struck you probably would end up with 
charbroiled fish!



Nathalie Patenaude