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What is thunder?

Thunder is the sound that lightning makes. A good way to find the answer to this question is to look up the word "thunder" in a dictionary (ask your parents or teachers to help if you need it). Then you can look up related words like "sound" and "lightning" to see how all these words fit together. If you really want a better answer, then the best place to look is in an encyclopedia (you school librarian can help).

Now, to answer your question, thunder is a sound just like the clap you hear when you strike your hands together. The sound is made when the electric charge of a lightning streak rushes through the air from one cloud to another, or from the ground up to a cloud. The lightning bolt is moving so fast that the air around it gets pressed into a very hard shock wave, and this is what you hear when the sound travels from the lightning to your ear (which may be a few seconds after you see the flash because light travels faster than sound).

Don Libby

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