The most spectacular lightning bolts ever identified: more than 16 seconds in length and more than 700 kilometers in length

The most spectacular lightning bolts ever identified: more than 16 seconds long and more than 700 kilometers long

Every day more than 17 million lightning strikes fall on Earth; 200 per second. A lightning bolt is an electrical discharge of up to 30 million volts , enough to provide light to a city of 200,000 inhabitants for one minute. It reaches a temperature five times higher than the temperature of the Sun’s surface: 30,000 ºC.

All this average. Because there are much more spectacular rays. The record, in that sense, has been obtained by two lightning strikes in Brazil and Argentina .

Duration and length

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has set two new world records for the longest reported distance and duration for lightning, respectively, in Brazil and Argentina. They are more than double the previous values ​​measured in the United States and France.

  • Length : The longest span traveled in the world by a single lightning strike is lightning that covered a horizontal distance of 709 +/- 8 kilometers through parts of southern Brazil on October 31, 2018.
  • Duration : The maximum duration of a single lightning bolt has been 16.73 seconds of an electrical discharge that developed continuously over the north of Argentina on March 4, 2019.

The previous record for the longest detected distance for a single lightning strike was 321 kilometers on June 20, 2007 in the entire US state of Oklahoma. The previous record for duration was for a single lightning bolt that lasted continuously for 7.74 seconds on August 30, 2012 over Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France.