Lightning Scar on Tulip Tree

August 10, 2022

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Photographer: Trevor Schlindwein
Summary Author: Trevor Schlindwein

The photo above was taken after our tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) in Chatham, Illinois, was struck by a bolt of lightning on May 26, 2022. This tree stands approximately 3 stories tall (about 42-ft or 13 m). The lightning left cracks on several large upper branches (not pictured) as it traveled toward the ground. It struck with such force that pieces of the bark were blown out of the side of the tree (pictured here), where they landed on a rooftop and driveway across the street. This strike also left a 12-inch by 12-inch (30 cm x 30 cm) hole in the ground as the lightning continued its path towards the roots of the tree.

It should be noted that there were several taller pin oaks within 100 ft (30 m) of this tree that were not struck. An arborist cut down our tree down for safety reasons because it literally split the trunk in half. Tulip trees tend to be targeted by lightning more than some other trees of similar stature. Fortunately, no one was injured. Photo taken on May 26,2022.


Chatham, Illinois Coordinates: 39.6762, -89.7045

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