BOOM! A visitor in Lassen Park’s Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center caught this video showing just how powerful lightning can be.
The perfectly timed video captures the moment a lightning bolt hits the top of a tree outside, exploding the tree and launching fragments into the air. Sound up…
“1.21 gigawatts!!” ~Doc Brown
It’s true! The average bolt of lightning contains about 1 billion watts of power — or 1 gigawatt. This is equivalent to the power output of more than 3,000 V8 engines.
Lightning forms when a thunderhead cloud, which is negatively charged at its bottom, interacts with positively charged particles on the earth’s surface. These areas of positive charge tend to concentrate in tall objects — like the red fir trees behind the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center.
If you were out exploring in Lassen Volcanic NP and you heard thunder in the distance, what would you do? (hint: this is not a trick question!)
video footage courtesy of Akunzhanou Dastan.