Why was there no thunder when lightning struck nearby?

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paul

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paul asked the Naked Scientists:

hi there i was reading your thing on lighting i was wondering if you could answer my question. a few years ago i was fishing at my local pond a storm came over   as i was fishing i laid carbon fibre pole on the ground for safety reasons any a blot of lighting hit the ground 6ft away the force and the heat knocked me over. but what i want to know is why there was no thunder that i could hear on that blot off lighting


What do you think?

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Offline syhprum

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Why was there no thunder when lightning struck nearby?
« Reply #1 on: 17/05/2008 20:26:22 »
I am sure that the nearby strike did in fact cause thunder that you would have heard loud and clear if you had been 500 meters away.
The most likely explanation is that the sudden surge in air pressure that blew you over overloaded you eardrums and put them out of action for a few minutes.
syhprum

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Offline LeeE

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Why was there no thunder when lightning struck nearby?
« Reply #2 on: 17/05/2008 20:56:22 »
That is far too close for comfort.  I'd be very surprised if you weren't momentarily unconsious, or at least in some state of semi-shutdown/consiousness.  When a lighting bolt earths through the ground it creates a voltage gradient over the surrounding area and anything close by that's earthed through more than one point will get a current flowing through it because of the PD across the earth points - IIRC cows are particularly suseptible to this because their front and rear feet are a long distance apart - so unless you were well insulated i.e. it was dry and not raining, you probably got quite a shock, as well as a surprise.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!