Why does a tree explode after a lightning strike?

Why Does A Tree Explode After A Lightning Strike?
Why Does A Tree Explode After A Lightning Strike?

SEATTLE -- A lightning bolt struck a giant tree in Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum Tuesday afternoon and the entire thing exploded.

The bark of the tree was literally blow in all directions. Giant slivers of wood, some the size of trees themselves, rocketed hundreds of feet to other parts of the park. The bolt even cut a channel in the ground surrounding the decimated tree.

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But as onlookers gathered to gawk at the spectacle many wondered aloud why there were no visible burn marks on the tree and why the smell in the air was of fresh cut lumber and not smoke.

Q13 FOX News Metoerologist M.J. McDermott says that's because a lightning is actually hotter than the surface of the sun. When a bolt strikes a tree it super-heats the sap throughout the tree and water in the sap turns to steam.

"This happens in a split second," says Q13 FOX News Metoerologist M.J. McDermott. "Steam erupts and it can literally blow the bark off the tree and have it explode."

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