Difference between Lightning and Thunder

When there is some disturbance in the earth’s atmosphere, a storm is caused. It can be of different types, but one of the most common one, which can be observed in most parts of the world is a thunderstorm.

Thunder and lightning are two separate forms of energy, but people are not aware of their true meaning. They occur at the same time during a thunderstorm, but still have different characteristics and are caused by separate reasons. Some people think that they are the same, which is not correct at all.

First of all, one must know that thunder is purely a sound energy. Whenever a thunderstorm is approaching, you will start hearing some sounds and will also get vibrations. These are caused by the thunder and can even be heard before and after the thunderstorm.

On the other hand, lightning comes under the category of electrical energy. It doesn’t create any sound in the air and occurs at the same time as the thunder. However, you will be unable to notice a thunderstorm without thunder, especially when you are sitting inside your house or any other covered area.

Although both thunder and lightning occur at the same time, yet you can see the latter first before hearing the sound. The scientific reason for it is that light travels faster than sound, thus you get the visuals first before hearing the loud grunt from the sky.

Another basic difference between thunder and lightning is that the former cannot be seen in the sky, but can only be heard. In case of lightning, the sky will be illuminated for a few seconds and you will be easily able to detect energy in the sky.

Although thunder is quite loud and strikes fear in everyone’s heart, yet it is not dangerous.  You only get scared after hearing the grunt. However, things are different when it comes to lightning. Despite being quiet, it can be threatening and end up causing a lot of loss.


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    The word thunder is derived from old English and was earlier called ‘thunor.’ It is caused by the quick expansion of gases through lightning.

    Image Courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org

  • 2


    Clearly visible in the sky, lightning comes from the old English word ‘lighting.’ When the water particles collide with hot air, they end up developing static energy.

    Image Courtesy: evaluna71.wordpress.com

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