Lightening Glass! Not what you expect!

We’ve all seen the movie set in this area where the main characters fall in love when struck by lightening as children.  The movie shows this beautiful swirling glass sculpture created by the mixture of lightening and sand.  In the real world these little lightening creations are called fulgurites. Fulgurites (from the Latin fulgur meaning thunderbolt) are natural hollow glass tubes formed in quartzose sand, silica, or soil by lightningstrikes.  We were actually brought a few of these interesting pieces of glass by a friend of the company and they are not what I expected.   They are formed when lightning with a temperature of at least 1,800 °C (3,270 °F) instantaneously melts silica on a conductive surface and fuses grains together; the fulgurite tube is the cooled product. This process occurs over a period of around one second, and leaves evidence of the lightning path and its dispersion over the surface.  Fulgurites can also be produced when a high voltage electrical distribution network breaks and the lines fall onto a conductive surface with sand beneath. They are sometimes referred to as petrified lightning. The glass formed is called lechatelierite which may also be formed by meteorite impact and volcanic explosions. Fulgurites can have deep penetrations, sometimes occurring as far as 15 metres (49 ft) below the surface that was struck.  

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