Scientists Still Don’t Know Why Thunder Happens – And Here’s Why

Scientists Still Don't Know Why Thunder Happens - And Here's Why 1

What Is Thunder?

Thunder is the sound which is accompanied by lightning. It does sound very simple right? But have you ever questioned yourself, that why does lightning make a sound?

Scientists Still Don't Know Why Thunder Happens - And Here's Why

Creation Of Lightning

Any sound that we hear is composed of vibrations. The vibrations travel through the air, as sound waves, until they reach our ears. Lightning is a huge discharge of electricity that shoots through the air and causes vibrations.


Two Ways In Which Thunder Can Be Formed

  • The electricity passes through the air, causing air particles to vibrate. The vibrations are heard as sound.
  • As the lightning is very hot, it heats the air around it. Hot air expands very quickly, pushes apart the air particles with force and creates more vibrations.


The Simple Reality of Thunder

This vibration is what we hear and call thunder – the rumbling of thunder is simply caused by the vibration or sound of air which is affected by lightning. Did you ever think that the reason behind that mysterious and terrifying sound of thunder could be this simple ?


Have you heard a really loud crack during a thunderstorm ? Don’t be afraid if you hear it. It isn’t some supernatural power coming to get you. It is only the sound of lightning when it is very near us. The rumbling effect is more intensified when thunder echoes off objects around us. All this echoing transforms the original “crack” into a deep rumbling.


What Is The Difference Between Thunder And Lightning?

During storms we generally get to see the lightning in the sky and then hear the sound of thunder. Curious souls may have often questioned this occurrence. Here is the reason why:

  • Light travels faster than sound, and hence, we see the lightning flash through the sky and then hear the crack of the thunder.
  • The light from the lightning travels much faster to our eyes than the sound which travels from lightning.
  • A very interesting fact about the thunder and lightning is that, the time difference between the occurrence of the lightning and the sound of the thunder helps us to calculate the distance of the storm from us in miles.

Scientists Still Don't Know Why Thunder Happens - And Here's Why

Mystery Behind The Thunder

Now we know the reason behind the thunder. But here is the mystery that lies behind those rumbling thunder waves:

  • The shock waves that cause the thunder  lasts only for a fraction of seconds. So why do keep on hearing the boom of the thunder for a number of seconds?
  • Echoes off the ground, buildings and mountains are one reason for the elongated noise of thunder.
  • Another reason behind the longevity of the sound of thunder is because of the length of the lightning bolt.

Thunder -Continues to Remain a Mystery

Thunder till now intrigues the common people as well as the scientists. Scientists are still involved in finding out more reasons behind the formation and occurrence of thunder. Such a fascination phenomenon of nature will forever continue to be a mystery for us.




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