Lighting Shaping Mountains

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 8,803
    New research on mountains in southern Africa show that they likely get their shape from lightning strikes, indicating they are less stable than we previously thought.

     New evidence shows that lightning strikes play a role in shaping mountains in Southern Africa--showing that mountains are a lot less stable than we tend to think.  For centuries it had been thought that the angular formation of certain mountain rocks shaped slowly over time as frost and freezing caused the rocks to breaks off.   New research shows that in fact lightning strikes have probably played a huge role in shaping mountains.  Researchers were able to use a compass to look for magnetic “fingerprints” that are imprinted on rocks when they are struck by lightning.  Scientists say we tend to think of mountains as passive agents, when really they can evolve quickly and dramatically over short periods of time.