Thunder does not lead to lightning, they are both part of the same process. “Lightning is an atmospheric discharge of electricity accompanied by thunder” Thunder is the sound made by lightning, we see the lightning first because the speed of light is faster than the speed of sound.
Well, thunder is caused by superheated air. As the air heats up, it expands rapidly, the friction of which is the acoustic phenomenon of thunder. According to this website I found, there I five different kinds of thunder (I never knew that): pealing thunder (changes of amplitude), clapping thunder (short-duration booms), rolling (irregular sounds), rumbling thunder (long duration but low amplitude) and crepitating thunder (short duration and amplitude).
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