There’s a Lightning storm in Venezuela that’s been going on since at least the 16th century!

There’s a Lightning storm in Venezuela that’s been going on since at least the 16th century!

Relámpago del Catatumbo (Catatumbo Lightning) is an atmospheric phenomenon that occurs where the Catatumbo River meets the Lake Maracaibo, in Venezuela.

How do they happen? The winds blowing accross the Maracaibo lake and other swampy plains around the area meet with the Andes mountain ridges. These winds carry a lot of heat and moisture, which are perfect for creating electric charges. The result? Lightning for 280 times an hour, 10 hours a day for 160 nights a year!

It is believed that the phenomenon has been going around since at least the 16th century (and most likely, even more than that). The first time this storm was reported in writing was an epic poem called "la Dragontea," by Lope de Vega in 1597, which told of the defeat of Sir Francis Drake at this site. Drake tried to attack the city of Maracaibo, but the lightning gave away his position and the city was able to respond in time.

All the electric activity makes the Catatumbo Lightning the largest single generator of Ozone in the planet. The lightning is visible up to 400 km away! Because of this, it's also called as the Maracaibo Beacon.

(Source)

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