Current from nearby rocket-triggered lightning that flowed through the soil and into an unenergized test power distribution line was studied based on experimental data acquired in 2003 at the International Center for Lightning Research and Testing in Florida. The 15-pole, three-phase line was 812 m long, was equipped with four arrester stations, at poles 2, 6, 10, and 14, and was terminated in its characteristic impedance at poles 1 and 15. The neutral conductor of the line was grounded at each arrester station and at both line terminations. Measurements suggest that a significant fraction of the lightning current injected into the earth a distance of 11 m from pole 15 entered the line through the grounding system of pole 15. The peak value of the microsecond-scale return stroke current entering the line through the pole 15 line ground was 7% of the peak value of the return stroke current injected into the earth. The peak value of the millisecond-scale triggered lightning initial stage current and the millisecond-scale return-stroke and initial-stage charge transfer to the line through the pole 15 line ground was between 12% and 19% of the lightning peak current/charge transfer, indicating that the percentage values for the injected peak currents are dependent on the current waveshape: for microsecond-scale return stroke currents, possibly due to electromagnetic coupling effects, a smaller fraction of the current peak enters the line compared to millisecond-scale initial stage currents. In the latter case, any influence of electromagnetic coupling to the line on ground currents is expected to be negligible.
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