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Glad You Asked: September 18, 2014

When I was a child, my family would often go camping in the summers. I would pick up various rocks and ask my dad what they were. “They’re called Leavarite, so you leave em’ right there.” While this is no “Leavarite,” it is something a lightning strike left behind. Most people have never seen it, and those who have may have never realized what it was at the time. This remnant is called a Fulgurite. Fulgurites are natural tubes or crusts of glass formed by the fusion of silica (quartz) sand or rock from a lightning strike. Their shape mimics the path of the lightning bolt as it disperses into the ground.

Read more about fulgurites in our Glad You Asked article HERE!

Fulgurites: When lightning strikes sand, magic is formed

www.mnn.com
All it takes is a flash. Lightning strikes the ground, creating temperatures of more than 3,000 degrees. The sand around the lightning strike fuses together, and fulgurite is formed. What are fulgurites? The word – based on the Latin world for thunderbolt – refers to a hollow glass tube formed when lightning strikes soil, silica, sand or even rock. These amazing structures – sometimes referred to as “petrified lightning” or “lightning stones” – don’t look like the transparent glass in your windows or kitchen cabinets. Instead they are complex structures that resemble a cross between a vegetable root and some of the more crystalline minerals such as mica. They vary in shape and size – most are only a few inches long – and they tend to form around the path of the dispersing electric charge of the lightning.