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Gigantic lightning bolt strikes the side of a mountain in New Mexico and blows up a TREE...


A US hiker has perfectly captured an amazing photo of a gigantic lightning bolt striking a mountainside.

The perfectly-timed photo was taken by Phil Garcia, while out hiking with his friends in Pecos, New Mexico

Garcia, 28, who works at a ski resort in Santa Fe, only managed to grab one shot of the purple-tinted bolt during adverse weather. 

It was so immense that it destroyed a tree in the process, leaving only its trunk.

'We were hiking up in the back trails when we saw one pop off right before that one so I pulled out my camera,' Garcia said. 

'The sound – it was wild. We were kind of worried, so we got out of there pretty quick.

'You could feel the energy. It blew the tree into what had to be a million pieces – all that was left was the trunk. It was just smouldering.' 

Garcia took the picture last June but has only just posted it to a New Mexico community group on Facebook.

He called the blast 'deafening' and said the picture was a combination of 'pure luck and right timing'.  

'It was raining so hard it put it out. It was super loud wish I had a video of it,' he said.  

'I was only 400 yards away from it – my ears rang for about five hours after.'

Lightning occurs when strong upward drafts in the air generate static electricity in large and dense rainstorm clouds.

Parts of the cloud become positively charged and others negatively charged.