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The Catatumbo lightning storm (Relámpago del Catatumbo) is an atmospheric phenomenon in western Venezuela. It occurs strictly in an area located over the mouth of the Catatumbo River where it empties into Lake Maracaibo. The frequent, powerful flashes of lightning over this relatively small area are considered by some to be the world's largest single generator of tropospheric ozone.
The storms are likely the result of the heavy winds blowing away from the Andes Mountains, which then collide with ionized gases - specifically the methane created by the decomposition of organic matter in the marshes. Being lighter than the incoming air, the gas rises up into the cloud layer, creating an electrical charge and a subsequent discharge which is seen as lightning. www.stormchaser.ca...
But now the lightning has vanished. A phenomenon that once unleashed up to 20,000 bolts a night stopped in late January. Not a single bolt has been seen since.
"This is unprecedented. In recorded history we have not had such a long stretch without lightning," said Erik Quiroga, an environmentalist and leading authority on the Relampago de Catatumbo, or Catatumbo Lightning.
The spectacle, one of the longest single displays of continuous lightning in the world, lasts up to nine hours a night. On average it is visible over 160 nights a year and from 400km away. Lightning bolts discharged from cloud to cloud strike 16 to 40 times a minute. They can reach an intensity of 400,000 amps but are so high thunder is inaudible. There are similar phenomena in Colombia, Indonesia and Uganda but they do not last the whole night.www.guardian.co.uk...
The 1 million powerful flashes of lightning a year over this relatively small area are considered by some to be the world’s largest single generator of tropospheric ozone.
It has not been seen since January 2010, apparently due to a drought, raising fears that it may have been extinguished permanently. Posted on May 5th, 2010 zenweezil.com...
In January 2010 happened unusual thing - Catatumbo Lightning disappeared. Lightning was not visible anymore and there was unusual darkness above Lake Maracaibo in the night. Closer studies revealed that the process of discharge continued, just the lightning was not visible anymore with naked eye.
Before this Catatumbo Lightning vanished only for three weeks in 1906, after the tsunami caused by catastrophic 8.8 magnitude earthquake.Most likely cause for current disruption is the unusual drought in Venezuela.
Catatumbo Lightning restarted in April 2010, after more than 2 months long disruption.www.wondermondo.com...
After appearing continually for centuries, the lightning was not seen for several months between January and April 2010 , apparently due to a drought, raising fears that it may have been extinguished permanently.