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Q & A: Lightning making thunder

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
What makes the molecules smash together when thunder is made?
- Britt (age 12)
Pennsylvania
A:
Thunder and lightning are completely linked together. You can't have one without the other. If you want to know more about lightning, go . There is a TON of great infomation there.

But, as for thunder, thunder is created from lightning itself. Lightning is a rapid movment of charges from the clouds and the earth toward each other. During a storm, the clouds can become charged one way, and the earth another. Eventually, these charges build up until they can move toward each other. This creates a lightning bolt.

The bolt itelf heats up the air around it. This heat is so intense that the air expands explosively outwards. The air molecules are moving extremely fast and crashing into other air molecules. This creates a sound wave which is the thunder you hear.

Scott

(published on 10/22/2007)

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