Now it is time for the Catatumbo Lightning!

13As we have been warning since early 2010, by the way decreed by United Nations General Assembly (UN) as “International Year of Biodiversity”, the loss of thousands of acres consumed for failing to control wildfires on time, the drought that has depleted watersheds that feed and make that our Maracaibo Lake be a major estuary in South America and the Caribbean.

Deforestation had already done their part not to mention the great financial loss consequential or immeasurable environmental and ecological impacts of products mines. The lack of attention to wetlands, mangroves, marshes and all the biome that represent the South of the Lake in general. Of course, somehow hand in hand with the impending climate change, which affect the conditions that generate the most interesting weather phenomenon, unique in its status, like the LIGHTNING of CATATUMBO.

The Lightning of Catatumbo, owes its name to the River Catatumbo which represents more than half of the water that enter to the Maracaibo Lake, we can say that this lake is really that river and others that fall in the basin. This is an area not intervened, although there is oil exploitation and agricultural activity in Colombia and Venezuela that provide nitrogen and toxic salts, which weakens the life of the lake.

In this sector of the Municipality of Jesús María Semprún creates a large area bathed by the River Catatumbo Father (it sounds like thunder), rising the lightning as a beacon that guides sailors, walkers and rolling in the region.

Only the Island of Java will compete in the continued almost daily for the appearance of lightnings, but the area of the Father Catatumbo River has record for being every day of the year and several times a day. “According to the nitrogen cycle has to go through this phenomenon and the creation of atmospheric ozone (the blue sky) also gets it home, so you can say that the Lightning of the Father Catatumbo River nourishes our soil and paint of blue to our planet “(Words of Elio Rios, Environmentalist, Founder of BLUE).

17Once again, it has been demonstrated that the human presence without respect or control can end with a “marvel of nature.” As always, some people will say that if this government would be guilty or not. If the State, National, Regional or Municipal silent and passive accomplices or not from destruction by pollution without adequate policy-oriented, not only research but the implementation of ENVIRONMENTAL CARE programs constant and immediate.

This phenomenon is characterized by almost continuous lightning and silent (especially by large distances), which is produced in clouds of large vertical electrical arcing between 2 and 10 km in height (or more), as the trade winds penetrate the surface of the Lake in the afternoon (when evaporation is greater) and are forced to climb the mountain system of Perijá (of 3,750 msl) and Mérida Andes Mountains, the Venezuelan Andes branch (of 5,000 msl, approximately).

The origin of this phenomenon is in the orographic effect of these ridges that enclose and restrain the northeast winds producing clouds of great vertical development, mainly concentrated in the Catatumbo River basin.

12This phenomenon is easy to see from hundreds of miles away, ie; from the lake itself (where no clouds usually occur at night) so it is also known as “Maracaibo Lighthouse”, because the vessels that were sailing on the area could navigate at night without any problems.

It has an annual occurrence of 140 to 160 nights or more, lasting up to 10 hours per night and produces up to 280 downloads per hour. In addition, these thunderstorms produce a high percentage of ozone generated worldwide as Catatumbo Lightning could be seen as a major individual regenerative earth’s ozone layer (although this hypothesis is under study), producing approximately 1,176,000 lightning strikes.

The origin of the formation of ozone is found in the ionization of atmospheric gases with intense electric shock.

The occurrence of “Catatumbo Lightning” is very old, the first written mention dates from 1597, when Lope de Vega mentioned in the epic poem “The Snakeroot.” The naturalist Alexander von Humboldt described the phenomenon as “electrical explosions, they are like phosphorescent brilliance …” (Alvarado, 1956) and the geographer Agustin Codazzi (Codazzi, 1960) reviews “as a continuous lightning that seems to arise in the swampy region of the Zulia river and its environs “, to the South of the Maracaibo Lake. Notable for their continued persistence in position and time, even in the dry season, hence the name deriving from “Maracaibo Lighthouse.”

15Characteristics of The Electric Shock:

Evidence download feature tag-cloud phenomenon, and its relative confinement in a certain region of the sky. Particularly without the presence of extensive cloud formations for the entire visible horizon, as would be expected in a typical storm.

The “Lighting” is an unparalleled source of ozone and the first generator of electricity in the planet’s stormy home.

Usually has an average of 28 electric shocks per minute, 7 hours a day, 140 days (minimum recurrence) and produces 1,646,400 electrical discharges per year.

“In ten minutes of recurrence generates the power needed to light existing light bulbs in South America.”

It is the Zulia State Icon, is part of their anthem, flag and shield. And it has inspired renowned artists of painting and music. But apart from the pride that all Zulia´s people feels by this natural phenomenon, it transcends the borders of Venezuela, as their contribution benefits to the whole planet earth.

If the “Lightning Catatumbo” “be declared as a Natural Heritage by the UNESCO” it will increase the chances that the relevant agencies will pay more attention to this phenomenon.

It has been campaigning and proposals since May 2003, where the government of President Hugo Chavez has been asked to manage this matter to the “UNESCO” to include as Natural Heritage the “Swamp National Park Juan Manuel” as the epicenter of the “Lightning Catatumbo”.

“To get the above, could the” Catatumbo Lightning be the first weather phenomenon Natural Heritage of Humanity.”

We have said that “the mirror of water that causes the lightning can be diminished by as exploited for agriculture and upland farming Catatumbo otherwise supplier of 60 percent of the fresh water lake, where salinity has advanced the dredged throat which communicates with the Gulf of Venezuela.

The loss of thousands of hectares of forest fires and deforestation caused by coal mining and the climate change, they may be destroying a natural phenomenon of humanity… Sad loss

“One Million Signatures for the Lightning of Catatumbo‏”


* Gustavo Carrasquel | Environmental and Ecological Communicator





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