WATCH: 100-Year-Old Pecan Tree Explodes After Being Struck by Lightning

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

A cold front sweeping through Texas earlier this week was responsible for causing a century-old pecan tree to explode as if someone had decorated it with multiple fireworks.

Texans hold the pecan tree in great esteem. For the past 103 years, it’s been the state tree for the Lone Star State. So within months of Gov. James Hogg declaring the pecan as the state tree of Texas in 1919, someone planted this one outside Dallas. It was one of thousands in the state. But after getting through freezes, droughts, thunderstorms and other assorted weather events for decades, a lightning strike destroyed this mighty tree. Now it’s become a viral video.

A backyard security camera captured the moment the tree exploded. For a split second, it looked like something from the Fourth of July, but far scarier. Take a look at the brief video clip. The lightning strike occurred at 8:23 p.m. outside a house in Southlake, an affluent suburb that sprang up near the D-FW Airport 40 years ago.

Exploding Pine Tree in North Texas Looked Like It Was From Fireworks

The cold front brought briefly severe storms and very high winds. There was at least one tornado in Central Texas, which might’ve toppled several 18-wheelers on I-35 about an hour’s drive north of Austin. Plus, the winds blew out the windows in the city’s fire station.

Meanwhile, trees do explode in bad weather, whether it’s from an intense freeze or as a result of a thunderstorm. But we Texans particularly don’t like it when a pecan tree topples. It’s a crime against the state, albeit one committed by Mother Nature.

Here’s how a tree can explode. When lightning strikes, it can get a searingly hot as 50,000 degrees. Because of the storms that swept through North Texas, this pecan tree already was wet. The lightning heated the water within the bark to a super high temperature, which vaporized the moisture and caused the pressure to go sky high. That’s when the bark exploded. The lightning strike was so extreme it caused the entire tree to explode.

Texas pecan trees can live between 200 and 300 years old, so long as they don’t encounter extreme weather. Pecan is a Native American word. That’s probably why so many different pecan tree varieties are named for tribes who were native to some areas in Texas.

And think of all those Texas pecan trees who help make Thanksgiving so tasty. After all, you can’t set a good holiday table without a pecan pie.

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