That black gash in the center of the tree is the path the lightening took - it blasted its way straight through the trunk and down into the ground. The black is charred wood and the inside of the chamber is filled with ashed and cinder.
Here is the stump - you can see where it went all the way through. The tree was very close to our house - maybe 15 feet away - and clearly spared our house from being struck. I'm only sorry that it had to give its life to do so.