As the waters of the Catatumbo river drop off into Lake Maracaibo you can hear the roar of thunder claps continuously rolling over the waves. What could possibly be happening along this river to create centuries of never ending lightening…
The Relámpago del Catatumbo or Catatumbo Lightning of Venezuela is an atmospheric phenomenon which occurs only over the mouth of the Catatumbo River … and only where the river empties into Lake Maracaibo.
Frequent and powerful flashes of lightning flash over a relatively small area originating from a mass of storm clouds more than 5 km high.
The lightening remarkably continues to occur nightly during 140 to 160 nights a year and continues 10 hours per day with over 280 strikes an hour.
What Is Happening?
Typically it occurs over the bog area where some scientists feel methane produced by the swamps and oil deposits in the area cause the phenomenon.
Centuries Of History
First written mention of the Cataumbo Lightening was by Lope de Vega in the epic poem “La Dragontea” (1597).
The phenomenon became so celebrated that it was depicted in the flag and coat of arms of the state of Zulia, which contains Lake Maracaibo, and mentioned in the state’s anthem.
This phenomenon has been popularly known for centuries as the Lighthouse of Maracaibo, since it is visible for miles around Lake Maracaibo.
See For Yourself…
Watch the amazing footage of George Kouronis as he reports from inside the storm.
And here is 2 minutes of the Cataumbo lightning in action….
cover photo – the mind unleashed