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Natural ELF fields in the atmosphere and in living organisms

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Most electrical activity in vertebrates and invertebrates occurs at extremely low frequencies (ELF), with characteristic maxima below 50 Hz. 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.

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This paper is a result of years of discussions among the authors, and we would like to acknowledge Dave Sentman who tragically died before this paper could reach publication. We would also like to thank the EU COST action ELECTRONET for reviving the interest in this topic and supporting travel to meetings to discuss these research issues.

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Correspondence to Colin Price.

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Dave Sentman is deceased.

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Price, C., Williams, E., Elhalel, G. et al. Natural ELF fields in the atmosphere and in living organisms. Int J Biometeorol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-020-01864-6

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  • Schumann resonances
  • Lightning
  • ELF
  • Biological organisms