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Thunder is the sound caused by lightning. Depending on the distance and nature of the lightning, thunder can range from a sharp, loud crack to a long,

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For other uses, see Thunder (disambiguation). This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) Cumulonimbus clouds often form thunderstorms.

Thunder is the sound caused by lightning. Depending on the distance and nature of the lightning, thunder can range from a sharp, loud crack to a long, low rumble (brontide). The sudden increase in pressure and temperature from lightning produces rapid expansion of the air surrounding and within a bolt of lightning. In turn, this expansion of air creates a sonic shock wave, similar to a sonic boom, which produces the sound of thunder, often referred to as a clap, crack, peal of thunder, or boom.

Thunder A short sample of a crack of thunder during the sound of falling rain Problems playing this file? See media help.

  • 1 Cause
  • 2 Etymology
  • 3 Calculating distance
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links


The cause of thunder has been the subject of centuries of speculation and scientific inquiry. The first recorded theory is attributed to the Greek philosopher Aristotle in the fourth century BC, and an early speculation was that it was caused by the collision of clouds. Subsequently, numerous other theories were proposed. By the mid-19th century, the accepted theory was that lightning produced a vacuum.

In the 20th century a consensus evolved that thunder must begin with a shock wave in the air due to the sudden thermal expansion of the plasma in the lightning channel. The temperature inside the lightning channel, measured by spectral analysis, varies during its 50 μs existence, rising sharply from an initial temperature of about 20,000 K to about 30,000 K, then dropping away gradually to about 10,000 K. The average is about 20,400 K (20,100 °C; 36,300 °F). This heating causes a rapid outward expansion, impacting the surrounding cooler air at a speed faster than sound would otherwise travel. The resultant outward-moving pulse is a shock wave, similar in principle to the shock wave formed by an explosion, or at the front of a supersonic aircraft.

Experimental studies of simulated lightning have produced results largely consistent with this model, though there is continued debate about the precise physical mechanisms of the process. Other causes have also been proposed, relying on electrodynamic effects of the massive current acting on the plasma in the bolt of lightning. The shockwave in thunder is sufficient to cause injury, such as internal contusion, to individuals nearby.

Inversion thunder results when lightning strikes between cloud and ground occur during a temperature inversion. In such an inversion, the air near the ground is cooler than the higher air. The sound energy is prevented from dispersing vertically as it would in a non-inversion and is thus concentrated in the near-ground layer. Inversions often occur when warm moist air passes above a cold front; the resulting thunder sound is significantly louder than it would be if heard at the same distance in a non-inversion condition.

Thunder is the sound produced by lightning. Etymology

The d in Modern English thunder (from earlier Old English þunor) is epenthetic, and is now found as well in Modern Dutch donder (cp Middle Dutch donre, and Old Norse þorr, Old Frisian þuner, Old High German donar descended from Proto-Germanic *þunraz). In Latin the term was tonare "to thunder". The name of the Germanic god Thor comes from the Old Norse word for thunder.

The shared Proto-Indo-European root is *tón-r̥ or *tar-, also found Gaulish Taranis and Hittite Tarhunt.

Calculating distance

A flash of lightning, followed after some time by a rumble of thunder, illustrates the fact that sound travels significantly slower than light. Using this difference, one can estimate how far away the bolt of lightning is by timing the interval between seeing the flash and hearing thunder. The speed of sound in dry air is approximately 343 m/s or 1,127 ft/s or 768 mph (1,236 km/h) at 20 °C (68 °F). This translates to approximately 5 seconds per mile (or 3 seconds per kilometer).

The speed of light is high enough that it can be taken as infinite in this calculation because of the relatively small distance involved. Therefore, the lightning is approximately one kilometer distant for every 3 seconds that elapse between the visible flash and the first sound of thunder (or one mile for every 5 seconds). In the same five seconds, the light could have traveled the Lunar distance four times. (In this calculation, the initial shock wave, which travels at a rate faster than the speed of sound, but only extends outward for the first 30 feet, is ignored.) Thunder is seldom heard at distances over 20 kilometers (12 mi). A very bright flash of lightning and an almost simultaneous sharp "crack" of thunder, a thundercrack, therefore indicates that the lightning strike was very near.

Very close thunder cracks See also
  • Thunderbolt
  • Thunderstorm
  • Thursday (day of Thor)
  • Brontophobia (fear of thunder)
  • Castle Thunder sound effect
  • Lightning
  • List of thunder gods
  • Mistpouffers
  1. ^ a b Rakov, Vladimir A.; Uman, Martin A. (2007). Lightning: Physics and Effects. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 378. ISBN 0-521-03541-4. 
  2. ^ Cooray, Vernon (2003). The lightning flash. London: Institution of Electrical Engineers. pp. 163–164. ISBN 0-85296-780-2. 
  3. ^ a b "Thunder". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 
  4. ^ MacGorman, Donald R.; Rust, W. David (1998). The Electrical Nature of Stomrs. Oxford University Press. pp. 102–104. ISBN 978-0195073379. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  5. ^ P Graneau (1989). "The cause of thunder". J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 22 (8): 1083–1094. Bibcode:1989JPhD...22.1083G. doi:10.1088/0022-3727/22/8/012. 
  6. ^ Fish, Raymond M (2004). "Thermal and mechanical shock wave injury". In Nabours, Robert E. Electrical injuries: engineering, medical, and legal aspects. Tucson, AZ: Lawyers & Judges Publishing. p. 220. ISBN 1-930056-71-0. 
  7. ^ Dean A. Pollet and Micheal M. Kordich, User's guide for the Sound Intensity Prediction System (SIPS) as installed at the Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division (Naveodtechdiv). Systems Department February 2000.
  8. ^ "thunder". Oxford English Dictionary (2 ed.). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. 1989. 
  9. ^ Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 72nd edition, special student edition. Boca Raton: The Chemical Rubber Co. 1991. p. 14.36. ISBN 0-8493-0486-5. 
  10. ^ "The Science of Thunder - National Lightning Safety Institute". 
External links

Media related to Thunder at Wikimedia Commons

  • The science of thunder
  • Thunder: A Child of Lightning
  • Wikibooks: Engineering Acoustics/Thunder acoustics

Rip It Up
Rip It Up
This is the standard 1 CD Version of this release.Since forming in 1989, Thunder have established themselves among the UK s most consistent attractions, notching up some twenty Top Fifty singles, 2 gold albums, and cultivating a well deserved reputation as consummate live performers. The band s sound is a timeless marriage of unforgettable melodies and sheer rock power.Their sensational return with their recent Classic Rock Award nominated album, Wonder Days in 2015 a top 10 release in their home country UK as well as a Top 40 release in Germany - was praised as both brilliant (Classic Rock) and amazing sounding (Metal Hammer), with Kerrang! crediting the band for the best songs they ve recorded in a decade and Record Collector adding top form to the mix. Rip It Up is Thunder s Eleventh album and is a proof positive that this is a band that exists only to push itself and aim higher. The album - as the title suggests sees Danny Bowes, Luke Morley, Ben Matthew, Chris Childs and Harry James stretching themselves musically, lyrically and creatively.This album comes nearly three decades into their career and, if 27 is normally famed and feared as the rock milestone at which many of the great and the good have had their creative flames extinguished, then Thunder have arrived with a bulging bag of tunes, a notebook of great lyrics, a jerrycan of petrol, and a match. There are rockers, like the incendiary title track, ripsnorters like She Likes The Cocaine , whilst songs like Right From The Start take the pace down, but turn the intensity up. Whilst the album closes out with the stylish blues-tinged melancholia of There s Always A Loser , it s clear that the band have continued with their winning ways. After a Summer of great gigs including killer performances at Ramblin Man and Steelhouse Festival, the quintet know what works and how to pace a set of songs.Title track Rip It Up is more than just a great and contemporary rock track, it s a statement of intent. Thunder, as Danny sings, Don t do subtle, don t rely on luck, there s quality in depth and style to burn here. Thunder have never sounded so intent or intense and, whilst this album cleaves to what made the band s fans fall in love with them originally, there s risk taking and ambition aplenty here. Thunder have no interest in taking the easy way. Rip It Up is a welcome addition to the Thunder catalogue, but more than that it represents another step up, another leap forwards. This is a band with a happy knack for crafting stone cold rock classics but they re not so interested in adhering to the rule book... Rip It Up ? Too right.

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ThunderShirt Dog Anxiety Jacket, Heather Gray, Large
ThunderShirt Dog Anxiety Jacket, Heather Gray, Large
ThunderShirt - the original and the best pressure wrap available. Like swaddling an infant, ThunderShirt's PATENTED DESIGN calms all types of anxiety, fear, and over-excitement issues. Thundershirt is the EASIEST TO USE and adjust for just the right pressure to calm your dog. Already calming millions of dogs, Thundershirt has over an 80% success rate. Use for thunder, fireworks, separation anxiety, travel, vet visits, problem barking, reactivity, and much, much more. NO TRAINING REQUIRED. COMFORTABLE FOR YOUR DOG. Machine washable. Soft, breathable fabric.

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Thunder (The McCabes Book 8)
Thunder (The McCabes Book 8)
The latest entry in the McCabe series. Johnny McCabes rides off to a cattle auction, and on the way has an encounter with an old enemy, and meets a legendary mountain man who is trying to protect two children who are being hunted. Meanwhile, Josh and Dusty and the men of the McCabe Ranch are conducting their spring roundup, and find themselves plunging head-first into a range war.

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