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Thunderclap or Rumble illustration: a dark, menacing cloud produces a lightening strike, creating a high frequency sound wave that gradually dissipates the further away you get.

Thunderclap or rumble

If you’ve ever been close enough to lightning when it strikes you may be familiar with the startling high frequency thunderclap or crack it makes. But the high frequency soundwaves of the clap are attenuated by their travel through the air away from the source so that from a kilometre or so away all you hear is the growling of the thunder rumbling away as it clatters and rebounds off everywhere it hits.

I learned about this from Randall Munroe’s fun book How to: Absurd scientific advice for common real-world problems.

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