Gamma Ray Bursts found to be Common in Thunderstorms

I have no idea if this has any relationship to LENR, but I find it interesting that there is now convincing evidence that thunderstorms commonly produce stong bursts of gamma rays — a phenomenon once thought to only occur in deep space. Researchers presented findings on the topic at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

Researchers from France and the Netherlands were able to measure these gamma bursts, known as terrestrial gamma-ray flashes when flying a plane through thunderstorms.

In a BBC article published today, Joseph Dwyer, a professor of physics at the University of New Hampshire is quoted as saying, “These are big, monster bursts of gamma rays, and one would think these must be monster storms producing them. But that’s not the case. Even boring-looking, garden-variety, little storms can produce these. Any kind of storm seems to produce these terrestrial gamma-ray flashes.”

Naturally whenever radiation bursts are mentioned, there is concern of the possible health effects. Those who are most at risk to be exposed to these bursts are crew and passengers in aircraft flying near these storms which tend to occur at around seven miles high — the approximate cruising altitude of airliners. A blog post at Scientific American explains that, “the typical burst of gamma rays is roughly equivalent to a year of background radiation on earth, and the X-rays are hundreds of times more energetic than the typical medical X-ray—about the equivalent of getting an entire CT body scan in just a few seconds.”

Could this finding be evidence of some kind of naturally-occurring phenomenon? I don’t know, but I have read suggestions that this could be the case. For example, here’s an excerpt from a 2012 article in Discover magazine titled “Bring back the ‘Cold Fusion’ Dream:

“In addition, Widom and Larsen theorized that the same neutron production process could happen in nature. Recently, scientists found one piece of supporting evidence for that. In March a study in Physical Review Letters described a large flux of neutrons during thunderstorms—perhaps, Larsen says, the result of LENRs in the atmosphere sparked by electricity from lightning.”

  • georgehants

    From Vortex with thanks.

    Another “impossible” possibility that dumb science denies without investigation


    Re: [Vo]:The simplest element: Turning hydrogen into ‘graphene’

    Kevin O’Malley
    Tue, 16 Dec 2014 20:04:36 -0800

    Cool paper. It goes against current thinking but supports simple chemical
    propositions from the 1930’s.[email protected]/msg100272.html

  • Curbina

    And there again were people telling that lightnings are capable of causing nuclear reactions years ago. Perhaps from there comes those Gamma Rays?

    “FIGURE 2: Prof. Santilli is the world leader in the study of
    lightning and thunder, because he spent several years of research on new
    processes caused by lightning at the particle, nuclear and molecular
    levels (patented and international patents pending). These studies were
    initiated under DOE support while Prof. Santilli was at Harvard
    University in the late 1970’s, and required a structural generalization
    of quantum mechanics into a new discipline today known as hadronic mechanics.
    The construction of the new hadronic mechanics became necessary because
    lighting causes contact nonpotential interactions among extended
    constituents (such as nuclei, atoms or molecules), which interactions
    are beyond any dream of serious treatment via quantum mechanics (since
    the latter mechanics can only represent point particles that, as such,
    cannot have contact interactions). In particular, a quantitative
    representation of thunder had remained un-achievable since the birth of
    science, because the small sectional area of lightning and its
    extremely short duration (of the order of nanoseconds) do not permit a
    credible achievement of the huge energy needed by thunder via
    conventional chemical processes. Prof. Santilli recalled that, one
    hundred millions year ago, our planet only had 40% nitrogen (as proved
    via air trapped in amber), that the nitrogen percentage in our
    atmosphere increased gradually, and that lightning is the only possible
    mechanism on Earth capable of slowly synthesizing nitrogen N(14,7) from
    carbon C(12. 6) and deuterium D(2,1), by instantaneously releasing all
    the energy needed to represent thunder (patented and international
    patents pending). Quantum mechanics strictly prohibits lighting to
    synthesize nitrogen, while the covering hadronic mechanics predicts this
    and several other syntheses, identifies their physical laws, and
    provides all methods needed for their industrial development. The
    birth of the magnegas™ technology occurred in the early 1990’s when
    Prof. Santilli selected a submerged DC electric arc as a reproduction of
    lightning in an industrially meaningful, thus continuous way.”

  • Gerard McEk

    I have previously postulated that during thunderstorms phosphorus may be formed of oxygen and nitrogen. A fusion between those to elements would result in phosphorus. That may be the reason why this element is so evenly distributed all over the world in very small quantities. One would expect that in due time all phosphorus would have bee washed-out into deeper ground layers. Plants need these elements. Intensive agriculture uses this element. Because the poop of birds have high concentrations of phosphors, bird poop is being excavated at the few places on earth where birds have culminated their poop during millions of years. These places are now quickly exhausted, which will lead to a real disaster of the human food production, because fertilizer cannot be made any more. It would be interesting to check the rain on phosphorus during a thunderstorm. If a extremely high current can fuse elements (probably hot fusion or maybe a combination of hot fusion and LENR), than also this thread for humanity can be solved in the future.

    • Curbina

      What you comment about Phosphorus increasing scarcity is known as “Peak Phosphorus” and is a grave concern for agricultural production. Curiously enough, 50 years ago or so the great Isaac Asimov (who besides being a great sci fi writer was Dr. on Chemistry) wrote an assay dealing with what he considered “Nature’s Bottle Neck”: the relative scarcity of phosporus.

      • Curbina

        Anyway, once we master LENR, the practical infinite availability of energy should also lead to practical and economical availability of elemental transmutation, hence, the end of any scarcity. Hope to live enough to see that coming a reality. It’s there in our future if we can visualize it and work to materialize it.

        • Gerard McEk

          I agree with the fact that if LENR is mastered, we will be able to also make phosphorus. Let us hope that day comes soon, it will be a blessing for humanity!

      • Omega Z

        Phosphorus is like water. It’s all still here.
        Obtaining it economically is the issue.
        We’ve used up most of the Cheap concentrated reserves. Guano
        It is now like rare earths. Plentiful, but sparsely distributed on land.
        There are mountains of it on the Ocean floors, but that will require specialized equipment & increasingly expensive.
        We could also obtain large quantities in desalinization plants once the process is incorporated into it.

  • Ivy Matt

    “I have no idea if this has any relationship to LENR”

    From the Scientific American article linked to above:

    “As best as scientists can tell, gamma bursts come from the same
    mechanism that causes lightning to flash. Positive and negative charges
    accumulate in the thunderclouds, and when the difference in charge
    becomes strong the entire electrical field breaks down the insulating
    properties of air, sparking a bolt of lighting. When lightning flashes
    within the storm clouds themselves, an avalanche of fast moving
    electrons is liberated. They move upward out of the top of the
    thunderclouds, and when they are deflected there by air molecules, they
    emit gamma rays. ‘The storms act like a natural particle accelerator,’
    Chronis said.”

    In brief, the most likely explanation for the gamma-ray flashes involves electrostatic acceleration of particles, which was my first thought upon reading the headline (although I seem to recall reading about the phenomenon before).

    The first nuclear fusion reactions achieved in the laboratory were performed using an electrostatic accelerator. In recent years scientists have discovered how to produce fusion reactions using pyroelectric crystals as a kind of electrostatic accelerator. It’s a pretty neat trick (and a real example of “table-top fusion”), but its use as an energy source is doubtful: when Ernest Rutherford called the promise of nuclear energy “moonshine”, he had particle accelerators in mind.

    Anyway, not only is this likely a high-energy phenomenon, but there are very few transition metals in the upper troposphere.

    • Axil Axil

      Did you know that water like hydrogen can produce nano-particles when exposed to an electric arc? LENR is based on the electromagnetic fields produced between these nano-particles. (aka nanoplasmonis)

  • Chris I

    During Srivastava’s talk at CERN, held jointly with that of Celani, he narrated having interviewed some India army staff who had been tasked with detecting either neutrons or gamma rays during thunderstorms, but I can’t remember which. They replied to him that they had only been ordered to detect the one kind and not the other.

    If it was only neutrons and not gamma, he ought to be interested in this.

  • Andreas Moraitis

    This would be a plausible explanation if only diffuse X-rays had been found. But there are also neutrons and 511 keV gammas (see my comment below).

  • kdk

    It would be interesting to see what happens when one tries to shoot radiation through an e-cat/cold fusion setup and see what reaches the other side, or the effects it would have on the reactions themselves… if the radiation is shifted inside the apparatus, you would have yourself the beginnings of a radiation shield, maybe useful in an area that starts with an F and ends in ima. Or just a better understanding of how we’re shielded from all of the radiation in space… kinda hoping somebody else has already thought of this.

    • Andreas Moraitis

      Pekka has proposed such a test some time ago on JoNP. In case that MFMP can get their DogBone running, it would certainly be worth trying. Widom & Larsen have postulated that SPPs can shield gammas effectively (there is even a patent application on this).

      • kdk

        Well, it seems as if it’s time to make use of it before Fukushima turns itself into an imminent problem, assuming it isn’t already.