Lightning on Mountains
Name: April H.
Does lightning strike the top of Mount Everest?
Does ligtning strike aircraft flying at 29,000 feet (as high as Everest)?
Lightning could strike objects at elevations of 29,000 feet;
if a thunderstorm occurred over Mount Everest, it could be
struck by lightning. Tall mountains receive lightning strikes
Airplanes have been struck by lightning, as did one of the
Apollo launch vehicles (at only a few thousand feet).
Aircraft are particularly susceptible to inter-cloud
(within a cloud) or intra-cloud (between clouds) lightning
strokes, which, fortunately, are only about one-tenth as
energetic as a cloud-to-ground stroke.
David R. Cook
meteorologist and lightning researcher
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory
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Update: June 2012