A Lichtenberg figure is a fern-like shape that shows up on certain kinds of material after being exposed to a high voltage. The shape is made up of branching electric discharges. You can produce one yourself in a laboratory by placing a needle onto a plate of glass, and then sending electric current through the needle into the glass. If examined with a microscope, you’ll see that the resulting fern-like shape is actually fractal. That means that as you continue to zoom in, you’ll find smaller and smaller versions of the same shape.
When human beings get struck by lightning, a Lichtenberg figure can appear on their bodies for hours or even days. Medical examiners can use this to determine the cause of death on a victim of a fatal lightning strike. These are thought to be caused by ruptured blood vessels under the skin. They're also referred to as "lightning flowers".
19 Interesting Facts