Lightning bolt over Oklahoma shoots 50 miles into the sky

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A new study has detailed what is thought to be one of the most powerful lightning bolts ever detected.

It struck high above the clouds over the US state of Oklahoma – a bolt from the blue that, rather than hitting the ground, shot upwards a distance of over 50 miles towards the edge of space.

Known as gigantic jets, lighting strikes like this one are among the most powerful on Earth but happen relatively rarely, with only around 1,000 of them occurring within the space of a typical year.

This particular example, which was detected back in 2018, has now become the subject of a new study that has highlighted, in spectacular fashion, the sheer magnitude of this phenomenon.

Using satellite and radar data, the Oklahoma jet was found to be 60 times more powerful than a typical lightning bolt – enough to move 300 coulombs of energy from the cloud to the lower ionosphere.

“The charge transfer is nearly double the previous largest by a gigantic jet and is comparable to the largest ever recorded for cloud-to-ground strokes,” the researchers wrote.

You can see another spectacular example of gigantic jet in the video below.

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