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Lightning-induced mineral/chemical changes in red pine (Pinus resinosa)

Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2011.07.006
  • Lightning-Struck (Pinus Resinosa)
  • Contorted/Embedded/Melted Minerals In Bark
  • Relation To Late Pleistocene Soil
  • Deformed Internal Vegetative Structure
  • Carbonized Pteridospherm


Abstract Red pine ( Pinus resinosa) growing in sandy soil of Glacial Lake Whittlesey age (~ 13–12 ka) in the town of Waterford, Ontario, Canada, north of Lake Erie, was struck by lightning in a fierce thunderstorm, May, 2010. The lightning strike was strong enough to destroy television sets and telephones in nearby houses and two red pines were struck, one split down the middle from above the bole to near the crown. Samples of bark and inner tissue were examined to determine the composition of black silt-size specs seen on the severed material. In addition to minerals found in abundance in the local soil, C clots/spherules, disrupted cellulose structures, blackened tissue, fused disfigured Si and metallic sheets of Na, the latter sourced from melted albite (Na-rich plagioclase), were analyzed. Many silt and sand size particles, sourced from the local soil were presumably electrically-levitated along and within the bark by the lightning discharge. Iron-rich micas, other Fe minerals and a great range of light minerals moistened by torrential rain were among the silts and sands transported to great height and embedded in the bark.

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