Unraveling the Mysterious Impacts of Lightning on the Human Body

By Mattie Quinn in Johannesburg for National Geographic
12/17/2013 12:53:04 PM

The following is an excerpt from National Geographic:

South Africa is the "lightning capital of the world"-and a laboratory for scientists trying to understand the effects of lightning on the body. PHOTOGRAPH BY CHARLES O'REAR, CORBIS

"In the self-proclaimed lightning capital of the world, Johannesburg, South African researchers are conducting experiments to understand how the human body reacts to a lightning strike. Their findings could help doctors learn how to treat victims more effectively and improve education about prevention.

South Africa has about 500 deaths and thousands of injuries from lightning strikes each year. The country has a population of 50 million, while the U.S.-with 313 million people-has had only 23 deaths from lightning so far this year. Johannesburg's subtropical climate means almost daily rain showers during the summer that, combined with its high elevation, makes the city particularly vulnerable to lightning."

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