Merida, 29th January 2014 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s Catatumbo lightening phenomenon yesterday entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest number of average lightning bolts per square kilometre per year, at 250.
The phenomenon, in the River Cataumbo at the southern end of Lake Maracaibo, is strongest during the rainy season. It originates from a mass of storm clouds over 5 km high, which are likely the result of winds from the lake meeting surrounding mountain ranges, and collecting heat and moisture, creating electrical charges. According to AVN, there are 1.78 million lightening strikes per year.
Venezuelan environmentalist, Erick Quiroga, who has been monitoring the lightning for 13 years, proposed the phenomenon be entered into the book last year. He said the record “will have a big impact...at a global scientific level, which is important for tourism in our country”.
Tourism minister Andres Izarra said the government was planning to invest in developing the area, building an “eco-tourism route” around the Puerto Concha quay.
Sergio Fuenmayor, a legislator in the national assembly, said that Venezuela was proud to hold the record, and highlighted the role the lightning phenomenon has in recovering the ozone layer, and therefore in preserving the environment.
There is a theory that the lightning strikes help to produce nitrogen oxide, which is broken down by sunlight and converted into ozone.