It originates from a mass of storm clouds at a height of more than 1 km, and occurs during 140 to 160 nights a year, 10 hours per day and up to 280 times per hour. [clarification needed] Other studies have indicated that this model is contradicted by the observed behaviour of the lightning, as it would predict that there would be more lightning in the dry season (January–February), and less in the wet season (April–May and September–October). The locals in the area are often alarmed when the lightning stops, even if for a while, as the lightnings have become such a regular part of their daily life, acting like a natural lighthouse guiding their direction in the darkness. For six weeks beginning in January of that year, no signs of the lightning events were observed in the skies over the Lake Maracaibo. in Vietnam. Universidad del Zulia. Furthermore, it should be noted that this lightning is also unique in that it occurs in the ozone of the troposphere instead of from typical storm clouds. The study also speculated that an isolated cause for the lightning might be the presence of uranium in the bedrock. in Japan. The heat and moisture collected across the plains create electrical charges and, as the air masses are destabilized by the mountain ridges, result in thunderstorm activity. Awesome Places. The reliability of this nighttime light show, sometimes called “Marcaibo’s Lighthouse”, has made it a navigational aid for ships many miles off the coast of Venezuela for centuries. “Catatumbo lightning”—or El Relampago del Catatumbo, as the locals call it—has become a meteorological reference for persistent displays of lightning. Avenue of the Baobabs . This amazing spectacle of nature is often visible as a brightly illuminated night sky from as far away as 400 kilometers from the origin of the lightning strikes. In Venezuela, at the mouth of the Catatumbo River where it meets the Lake Maracaibo, a unique and impressive natural phenomenon, variously known as the "Catatumbo lightning", the "Beacon of Maracaibo" or the “Everlasting Storm”, captures the eyes and attention of all observers there to witness it. The index seems to capture well the compound effect of multiple climate drivers. These air masses meet the high mountain ridges of the Andes, the Perijá Mountains (3,750 m), and Mérida's Cordillera, enclosing the plain from three sides. Even though previously the mountain village of Kifuka in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa was know to be the most electric place on Earth, with 158 lightning flashes per square kilometer each year, the Catatumbo lightning has surpassed this figure with 250 lightning flashes per square kilometer each year. "Catatumbo lightning" refers to continuous (high frequency) lightning from a near-daily thunderstorm complex that forms in the Lago de Maracaibo/Catatumbo River region in northern Venezuela, South America. [clarification needed][20][21][14], A 2016 study showed that it is possible to forecast lightning in the Lake Maracaibo basin up to a few months in advance, based in the variability of the Lake Maracaibo Low-Level Jet and its interactions with predictable climate modes like the ENSO and the Caribbean Low-Level Jet. Italian geographer Agustin Codazzi described it in 1841 as "like a continuous lightning, and its position such that, located almost on the meridian of the mouth of the lake, it directs the navigators as a lighthouse. Ha Long Bay. Universidad del Zulia. [13] The methane model is based on symmetry properties of the methane. It occurs only over the mouth of the Catatumbo River where it empties into Lake Maracaibo. [22], Coordinates: 9°20′39″N 71°42′38″W / 9.34417°N 71.71056°W / 9.34417; -71.71056 (Approximate center), CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (. "Phenomena – A science salon hosted by National Geographic Magazine",, "Where are the lightning hotspots on Earth? THIS spot is struck by more lightning than anywhere else in the world, creating … Brazil. Why Catatumbo River is the most lightning-struck place on earth. The only apparent unique characteristic of this phemonemon is that the storms form and persist in the same place night after night. in Bolivia. Reporte público "[8], The phenomenon is depicted on the flag and coat of arms of the state of Zulia which also contains Lake Maracaibo, and is mentioned in the state's anthem. Lake at Salt Flats or Salar de Uyuni. Centro de Modelado Científico (CMC). CMC-GEO-DDI-02-2011. [14][15], A team from the Universidad del Zulia has investigated the impact of different atmospheric variables on Catatumbo lightning's daily, seasonal and year-to-year variability, finding relationships with the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone, El Niño–Southern Oscillation, the Caribbean Low-Level Jet, and the local winds and convective available potential energy. Muñoz, Á.G., Núñez, A., Chourio, X., Díaz-Lobatón, J., Márquez, R., Moretto, P., Juárez, M., Casanova, V., Quintero, A., Zurita, D., Colmenares, V., Vargas, L., Salcedo, M.L., Padrón, R., Contreras, L., Parra, H., Vaughan, C., Smith, D., 2015: Reporte Final de la Expedición Catatumbo: Abril 2015. [2] It occurs over and around Lake Maracaibo, typically over a bog area formed where the Catatumbo River flows into the lake.