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What are the Reason for Thunder?

What are the Causes Behind Loud Thunder Cracks?

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What Causes Thunder?

• When the air surrounding the path of a lightning bolt suddenly expands, thunder occurs. Thus, stop believing that the gods above are clapping which results to the thunder cracks that we are already accustomed to.
• Thunder is actually an acoustic shock wave which resulted from the mentioned expansion.
• When the same air reaches a temperature of more or less 33,000° Celsius, the sharp cracks and deep rumbling of thunder takes place.
• Louder thunder claps results from closer lightning proximity.

What is lightning?

• It is a form of electricity released in the sky of our dear planet.
• It travels in a period of a few thousandths of a second towards the Earth’s land and vice versa. Thus, you won’t really see it coming.
• It naturally heats up and reaches a temperature that is even 5x hotter than our main source of heat which is the sun.
• Rapid air compression and expansion around the lightning bolt finally results to thunder.

Early Theories about the Sound of Thunder Formulated Before the 2000’s

• exploding steam and gases
• air vacuums
• the collision of clouds – Ancient Greeks

Factors Affecting the Thunder’s Sound

• ambient air temperature
• Inversion – the atmosphere’s air is hotter than the air present in the ground. A thunder in this scenario is expected to produce a louder sound for the ground’s cold air doesn’t allow the acoustic shock waves to escape. Inversion is a nocturnal event. That’s the reason why loud thunder cracks are rarely heard during the day.
• the lightning bolt’s form and proximity
• A far away lightning produces a long rumble sound for hills and clouds can intercept its shock waves. A forked lightning bolt also sounds the same.
• A closer lightning produces a strong snap or crack.

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