Katatumbo Lightning Striking – Natural phenomenon

The Catatumbo Lightning is an amazing natural phenomenon.Photo from open sources

Above the wetlands in the southwest of Lake Venezuela Maracaibo can be seen all year round a unique natural phenomenon, invariably amazing visitors, however for local residents being the most familiar sight. The fact is that here the most powerful thunderstorm goes almost continuously: in one night up to 20 thousand flashes are recorded! That is why the Catatumbo Lightning called the planet’s most continuous thunderstorm.

Unique natural phenomenon

No one knows when this phenomenon arose, but it’s amazing the phenomenon is still included in the legends of the natives. Famous scientists Agustin Kodassi and Alexander von Humboldt once described him as a constant outburst of heaven that occurs in the vicinity of the Zulia River. At the beginning of the twentieth century, naturalist Melchor Bravo Centeno put forward The assumption that the Catatumbo Lightning is due specific features of the relief and wind regime in this terrain.

A photo from open sources

Russian researcher Andrei Zavrotsky, who organized 1966-1970 expedition to Venezuela, managed to identify three the epicenter of mysterious lightning: on the Klaras-Aguas Negras River, in the swamps Juan Manuel de Aguas Nature Reserve, as well as in west of Lake Maracaibo. Many experts suggested that lightnings are somehow provoked by intense oil vapors in the area, however Zavrotsky denied this hypothesis. He proved that in two of the three epicenters no oil not.

Further expeditions to this place led experts to a new hypothesis. This, according to scientists, is about the so-called pyroelectric mechanism. Today it is believed that the winds over local plains collect methane, and this combustible gas is supposedly nourishes lightning. True, many even question this theory, since there are many areas on earth with higher methane concentration in the air, but there are no similar phenomena observed.

A photo from open sources

In September 2005, the authorities of Zulia announced the Catatumbo Lightning natural heritage site. Atmospheric phenomenon so durable associated with its state, which is depicted on its flag and coat of arms, and is also mentioned in the hymn of Zulia. Venezuelan defenders environment a few years ago achieved the inclusion of a unique phenomena on the preliminary list of world heritage sites UNESCO.

Numerous Secrets of Lightning Katatumbo

In January 2010, the unexpected happened: the lightning suddenly disappeared, and the nights over the lake became dark. Excited Local Scientists conducted a study and calmed down, finding out that the discharge processes continued, however, see the lightning with the naked eye until seemed possible. Specialists associated this with a strong the drought observed at that time in the country. In April of that year lightning flashed again at night. Previous similar pause occurred in 1906, but then lasted only three weeks. She was foreshadowed by a strong earthquake and tsunami, and this relationship scientists also still can not explain.

Thunderstorm begins in these mysterious places on average an hour later after sunset. Countless lightning strikes are incredibly intense: charge each of them has a power of more than 400 thousand amperes. In overall coherence they generate more than a million volts of electricity.

A photo from open sources

Once the Catatumbo Lightning Bolts are generated by giant thunderstorms clouds in the foothills, boats immediately go to the nearby lakes with tourists delighted in enjoying this fantastic sight. However, lightning is visible from afar, even at a distance of 500 kilometers. Outbreaks are clearly visible from the Caribbean, and in earlier times The Katatumbo lightnings were called the Maracaibo Lighthouse, since this light The natural effect has been of great help to ships for centuries. navigate in the dark.

Lightning has red and orange hues, which again amazing Perhaps this is due to the unique chemistry of the local air. At a great distance, thunder is not audible, which once gave rise the legend of the silence of the Lightning Katatumbo. This is actually not the case although the sound effect from them is much weaker than ordinary lightning, so even from a short distance it’s strange to watch hundreds huge heavenly flashes of light – and silence …

A photo from open sources

Katatumbo zippers are one of the largest single ozone producers on Earth. According to various estimates, they generate 10 to 15 percent of the tropospheric ozone of our planet. Is it worth it to say that we should be infinitely grateful to them for production of this valuable gas for all living.

Research into this phenomenon continues to this day, scientists persistently trying to find scientific answers to numerous questions, unravel the secrets regarding the Katatumbo Lightning. Unfortunately, bye more assumptions contradicting one another …


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