Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Scientists Still Don’t Know The Reason For Thunder And Here’s Why

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What Is Thunder?

Thunder is a sound that is accompanied by lightning. It does sound very simple right? But have you ever questioned the reason behind the sound we hear when it thunders?

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Creation Of Lightning

Any sound that we hear is composed of vibrations. The vibrations travel through the air, like 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, and these 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.
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The Simple Reality of Thunder

This vibration is what we hear and call thunder – the rumbling of thunder is 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.

By John D Sirlin/ Shutterstock

What Is The Difference Between Thunder And Lightning?

During storms, we generally see the lightning in the sky and then hear the sound of thunder. Curious souls may have often questioned this occurrence. Here is 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 thunder and lightning is that, the time difference between the occurrence of the lightning and the sound of the thunder helps us calculate the distance of the storm from us in miles.


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 we keep on hearing the boom of the thunder for a number of seconds?
  • The thunder vibrations echo off the ground, buildings and mountains, and that’s why we hear 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 still 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 fascinating phenomenon of nature will forever be a mystery to us.


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