Lichtenberg Figures: a Beautiful Consequence of Lightning Strikes
Your chance of being struck by lightning this year is about 1:960,000 according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which is decidedly more likely than winning the powerball lottery in any given year. About 50 people die from lightning strikes each year in the United States.
Lightning can cause an unusual and beautiful pattern on the skin which is fern-like in appearance. These are so-called “Lichtenberg Figures” which result from lightning spreading across the surface of the skin. These patterns are tell-tale signs that the patient has been struck by lightening.
About 10% of people struck by lightning will die. Survivors may suffer permanent injuries or transient memory loss. Many victims are more fortunate and may survive with only the burn patterns on the skin.
Lichtenberg figures typically resolve within 24 hours without leaving lasting marks.