This web page contains thunder facts for kids and is a valuable resource for anyone of any age researching thunder. Our goal is to provide you with the latest and most accurate thunder facts from scientific sources. In addition to thunder facts, you’ll find some amazing thunder pictures and additional resources for researching thunder.
The thunder facts listed below will help you learn what thunder is, what creates the sound of thunder is created, how loud thunder is and other thunder facts. We hope these facts about thunder are helpful and help you learn more about this loud meteorological event.
If any of the below thunder facts are inaccurate, please contact us and let us know.
16 Thunder Facts for Kids
- Thunder is the sound produced by a lightning bolt.
- Thunder is produced by storm clouds and thunderstorms.
- Lightning produces a sudden increase in temperature and pressure, which results in the rapid expansion of air around and within the lightning bolt. This expansion creates a sonic shock wave, producing the sound of thunder.
- A clap of thunder registers around 120 decibels.
- Because sound travels much slower than light, you’ll always see a flash of lightning before you hear any thunder.
- The sound of thunder depends on the type of lightning bolt and how far away you are from it.
- The closer you are to a lightning bolt, the more it will sound like a sharp, loud crack. The farther away you are from a lightning bolt the more it sounds like a low rumble.
- It’s impossible to have thunder without a lightning bolt, since thunder is produced from a lightning bolt. However, if you’re far enough away from a lightning bolt you’ll see the flash, but not hear the thunder.
- If you’re more than 12 miles (19 kilometers) from a lightning bolt, you most likely won’t hear any thunder.
- You can actually calculate how far away you are from a lightning bolt by using thunder. When you see a flash of light from lightning, count the number of seconds until you hear the thunder. You can use the timer on your cellular phone or count using the “One-Mississippi, Two-Mississippi, Three-Mississippi,” method. Based on how long it takes sound to travel compared to light, every five seconds is one mile. Simply divide the number of seconds you counted by 5, and that’s how many miles away the lightning bolt was.
- A rare event known as a thundersnow or thundersnow storm is when thunder and lightning are produced during a winter snow storm.
- Snow is an acoustic suppressor, the sound of thunder in a thundersnow storm can only be heard for a few miles.
- The fear of thunder is known as brontophobia. Astraphobia is the fear of thunder and lightning.
- Thunder was believed to be caused by clouds colliding together prior to the mid-19th century.
- In Greek Mythology, Zeus was the sky and thunder god.
- In Norse Mythology, Thor was the god of thunder.
Additional Resources for Thunder Research
- Severe Weather 101: Lightning and Thunder – Basic thunder facts for kids from the National Severe Storms Laboratory.
- Thunder and Lightning – Information on thunder and lightning from UCAR, Center for Science Education.