Lightning in North Central South Australia 5th November 2012

Not really sure if you can help but on the 5/11/12 SA had quiet severe lightning strikes. I live on an isolated rural property North of Adelaide with underground streams. Lightning was striking all around but a point 6 metres from my veranda it seemed to be attracted to most. After the storm this area was submerged and burnt. Indeed the lightning seemed to “emerge” from the ground. The colour of this lightning was purple. I was videoing the storm from 6 metres from this point and until reviewing the video later had no idea that all this local activity was occurring. I have attached a few pics to highlight this “purple” lightning. My question is can lightning travel underground and re-emerge at another point?
The irony is I train people in licence accreditation of 275KV switching as a job so I appreciate the inherent dangers involved with high voltage electricity!

Shaun Bancroft


from Stockyard Creek, South Australia



  • Mike O’Neill (lightning expert) from Darwin has these comments:

    “I suspect they are not upward streamers. Streamers do not emerge from one point and travel underground to another even with ground potential differences. Given that these stills are from a video they are more likely ghosting or refraction on the sensor and lens from the initial flash that grounded in the background fairly close. If the person taking the video had an upward streamer this close to them they would most likely to have been the subject of side flash or at least be shocked by ground potential differences. The other give away is that in some of the ghost stroke reflections you can see downward branching – upward streamers do not branch downward, they do contain some branch component ‘nubs’ similar to thorns on a rose stem.

    Nice capture of the stroke though all the same.”