What Causes Lightning

The scary thunder that strikes from sky to the earth has become the source for the world’s myths and legend. This natural phenomenon of lightning that strikes the earth from the sky has fascinated people around the world for centuries long. There are several famous theories from the famous scientific researches about the formation of lightning but to be exact, what causes lightning? The famous theory that is accepted widely around the world is the charging of the cumulonimbus clouds, which will result of a bright flash of electricity that often occur during a thunderstorm.

Besides that, lightning can also be seen during volcanic eruptions, surface nuclear explosions and also forest fires. It travels at a tremendous speed of 60,000 meters per second and is known to kill more people than hurricane or tornado. Every year, 100 people die and at least 250 people are injured from lightning strikers in the United States. The states that have the highest number of lightning strikes than any other part of the US is Florida but it have one of the lowest amounts of fatality. There are several theories about the forming of lightning and the scientists are still working hard to find out the main cause of this phenomenon.

The forming of clouds in the earth atmosphere and the difference of the air temperature causes the forming of large, dense and tall cumulonimbus clouds at the height of 15000-25000 feet above the sea level. In the moment of thunderstorms, strong air currents will cause the water and ice particles in the cumulonimbus clouds to collide and these collisions eventually create two electric charges, positive charge and negative charge. The two charges will separate from each other, where the negative charges will move to the bottom of the cloud, while the positive charges will be at the upper and middle part of the cloud.

When the difference of the electric charges is too large, the air around the cloud will be ionize and the ionize air will make a very good conductor of electricity, which will build the bridge between the earth and the cloud. When the charges get larger, the clouds will attract another clouds. When the two or more clouds with high amount of electrical charges meet and stroke against each other, a giant electrical sparks will be created and if the air in the area is condensely ionize, the giant sparks will strike the ground forming the phenomenon we called as lightning.

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