This is the dramatic moment a ferocious lightning bolt crashed against the Grand Canyon as dusk fell over one of the world’s greatest natural wonders.
The breathtaking pictures showed the supposedly 17 million year old environment coming to life as mother nature unleashed the ferocious bolts on the canyon walls.
Huge streaks of white light illuminated the surrounding skies as the thunderstorm’s gloomy, grey clouds gathered in Nevada in front of the setting sun.
Using low exposure techniques, photographer Rolf Maeder managed to capture multiple strikes hitting the canyon under atmospheric skies for the photo titled ‘Night of Lightning at Grand Canyon.
Photographing various landscapes is Mr. Maeder’s area of expertise. He remarked to National Geographic Magazine: “Watching this spectacular rainstorm far beyond the Grand Canyon was really a wonderful experience.”
In his blog, Photography Sedona, he wrote: “The raw power of it thrilled me equally as much as the fragility and simplicity in a picture of a seagull flying with the ocean gusts.
“Scott Stulberg, Holly Kehrt and I decided to do a sunset trip to the Grand Canyon, a two hour drive from Sedona. The evening and sunset was very hazy. So we decided soon to return home, taking it slow and visiting some more viewpoints.
“And then, at the Moran Point, we could enjoy this incredible lightning storm emerging at the east end of the canyon.”
Grand Canyon National Park alone experiences more than 26,000 lightning strikes year, according to the National Park Service.
The late summer North American Monsoon, which produces storms every day in various parts of the region, is likely to blame for the lightning strikes.
The monsoon delivers waves of moisture from the southeast, causing dramatic, localised thunderstorms fueled by high temperatures.
The other time the area receives showers is during winter when Pacific storms deliver widespread showers and snow at the highest points
The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and reaches a depth of over a mile. Nearly two billion years of the Earth’s geological history has been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock. These images were shot from Moran Point (elevation: 7160 ft) on the South Rim of the canyon.
According to recently discovered evidence, the Colorado River began carving out its path through the canyon at least 17 million years ago. Since then, the Colorado River has proceeded to erode the canyon and shape it into the shape it is in today.