FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show Dozens Of Lightning Bolts Striking At The Same Time In Venezuela?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows dozens of lightning bolts striking at the same time above Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela.


Verdict: False

The image was created by stitching together dozens of photographs that were taken over the Greek island Ikaria.

Fact Check:

The image shows what looks like dozens of lightning bolts striking a body of water at the same time. “This blistering sight occurs in Venezuela,” reads the post’s caption. “When warm and cold fronts meet where the river empties into Lake Maracaibo, it forms just the right conditions for this phenomenon.”

The area where the Catatumbo River meets Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela is one of the stormiest regions in the world and can experience up to 28 lightning flashes a minute, according to BBC News. The image was not, however, taken in Venezuela.

Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact discovered the image was published in a 2012 Live Science article that explains it was created by photographer Chris Kotsiopoulos. Kotsiopoulos stitched together a 70-shot sequence of photos of a lightning storm he captured over the Greek island Ikaria in June 2011 during a lunar eclipse. In other words, the image is 70 photographs carefully meshed into one.

“It was very intense,” Kotsiopoulos told Live Science. “One lightning every 10-20 seconds.”(RELATED: Image Claims To Show Lightning Over The Pyramids Of Giza)

The image can also be found on Kotsiopoulos’ website with the title, “Ikaria island lightning.” The photo’s caption reads in part, “The severe thunderstorm took place the night of the total lunar eclipse at June 15, 2011. In order to make the sequence, I set the camera to a tripod taking 20 second shots continuously.”

Genuine images of lightning strikes over the Catatumbo River can be found on Shutterstock and the stock photo website Alamy.

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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