Thunderbolt and lightning pictures, a collection of very cool photographs taken from photographers around the world. A selection of the coolest lightning storms caught on camera.
Lightning is an atmospheric discharge of electricity, which typically occurs during thunderstorms, and sometimes during volcanic eruptions or dust storms.
Lightening Slow Motion Video
More Lightening Photos
In the atmospheric electrical discharge, a leader of a bolt of lightning can travel at speeds of 60,000 m/s, and can reach temperatures approaching 30,000 °C (54,000 °F), hot enough to fuse soil or sand into glass channels
There are over 16 million lightning storms every year.
How lightning initially forms is still a matter of debate
Scientists have studied root causes ranging from atmospheric perturbations (wind, humidity, friction, and atmospheric pressure) to the impact of solar wind and accumulation of charged solar particles. Ice inside a cloud is thought to be a key element in lightning development, and may cause a forcible separation of positive and negative charges within the cloud, thus assisting in the formation of lightning.
Lightning can also occur within the ash clouds from volcanic eruptions, or can be caused by violent forest fires which generate sufficient dust to create a static charge.