EGU2020-6988, updated on 12 Jun 2020
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Lightning, Evolution and Biology

Colin Price1, Earle Williams2, Gal Elhalel1, and Dave Sentman3
Colin Price et al.
  • 1Tel Aviv University, Geophysics and Planetary Science, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 2Parsons Lab, MIT, Cambridge, USA
  • 3Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, USA

Most electrical activity in vertebrates and invertebrates occurs at extremely low frequencies (ELF), with characteristic maxima below 50Hz.  The origin of these frequency maxima is unknown and remains a mystery.  We propose that over billions of years during the evolutionary history of living organisms on Earth, the natural electromagnetic resonant frequencies in the atmosphere, continuously generated by global lightning activity, provided the background electric fields for the development of cellular electrical activity.  In some animals the electrical spectrum is difficult to differentiate from the natural background atmospheric electric field produced by lightning.  In this paper we present evidence for the link between the natural ELF fields and those found in many living organisms, including humans.

Price, C., E. Williams, G., Elhalel and D. Sentman, 2020:  Natural ELF Fields in the Atmosphere and in Living Organisms, Int. J. Biometeorology, in press.

How to cite: Price, C., Williams, E., Elhalel, G., and Sentman, D.: Lightning, Evolution and Biology, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-6988,, 2020