The many sounds of thunder

Monsoon Thunder

It’s monsoon season in southern Arizona, so thunderstorms roll through on an almost daily basis.  I usually love the sounds of thunder, and marvel at how different it sounds depending on the storm conditions and whatever is around to reflect the sound.  My favorites are the tinny sounds produced by thunder reflecting off of high rock walls, reverberating up and down the canyons.  I haven’t had the opportunity to record that yet.

Thunder is difficult to record.  It is often accompanied by wind, which is hard on mics, and rain, which is also hard on mics.  In addition, the wildly fluctuating sound levels need to be taken into consideration.  I love a good recording of thunder in which it feels like the ground is shaking.  I haven’t been able to get that yet, but I’m getting closer.

Here is a recording of thunder approaching my house during a storm last September.  The squeaking noise is a mesquite branch rubbing on a lamp post in my front yard.

A few weeks ago, as I was returning from a road trip to northern Nevada, I stopped at Coral Pink Sand Dunes, near the Utah-Arizona border.  Shortly after arriving, a large thunderstorm approached from the north, barreling over the top of me.  Here are some sounds of that storm as it approached.  The recorder was set in a grove of pinyon pine and juniper.

A thunderstorm approaches Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
A thunderstorm approaches Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park


In its wake, it left an absolutely stunning sunset.

A gorgeous sunset over the dunes
A gorgeous sunset over the dunes


Recording notes:  Both recordings made with Zoom H4n.

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