The Catatumbo Lightning is an atmospheric phenomenon in Venezuela. It occurs strictly in an area located over the mouth of the Catatumbo River where it empties into Maracaibo Lake. 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. It originates from a mass of storm clouds that create a voltaic arc at more than 5 km of height, during 140 to 160 nights a year, 10 hours per day and up to 280 times per hour. It occurs over and around Lake Maracaibo, typically over a bog area that forms where the Catatumbo River flows into the Venezuelan lake.
After appearing continually for centuries, the lightning was not seen for several months in January – April 2010, apparently due to a drought, raising fears that it may have been extinguished permanently.
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