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Lightning FAQ: What are the glassy formations resulting from lightning striking sandy soil?

Fulgurite
By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
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When lightning strikes the ground where the soil is sandy in nature, the intense heat from the lightning channel fuses the soil into hollow, glassy, brittle formations that are shaped like the lightning channel that formed it. These formations are called fulgurites. Mineralogical Research Co. has pictures of fulgurites for sale.

The photo above shows one of two 2 1/2" long fulgurites that I bought from Mineralogical Research. These were formed by lightning strikes on the Pecos Plains in western Texas.

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