Catatumbo River Gets 3,600 Lightning Bolts an Hour, 300 Nights a Year (Watch)

February 4, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

The mouth of the Catatumbo River in Venezuela is almost constantly illuminated by lightning. The indigenous people referred to it as “River of Fire in the Sky.”

It was recently awarded the record for highest concentration of lightning in the world by Guinness World Records.

Guinness told the Huffington Post the area has almost 400 lightning flashes per square mile (250 per square kilometer) and that the lightning happens up to 300 nights per year. The lightning often starts at dusk and runs through until dawn.

The area is estimated to see 1.2 million flashes a year, with up to 3,600 per hour and 18 per minute.

Epoch Times Photo
 (Wikimedia Commons)

It’s uncertain what causes the phenomenon, but it could be related to a high amount of methane in the region or to wind from the Andes.

Historically, sailors have used it as a sort of lighthouse, as a navigation aid.

The previous Guinness record was held by Kikuka, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kikuka receives 409 lightning bolts per square mile (158 per square kilometer) every year.