Fulgurites

~ Author: Chloe Wong, 12-year old rock enthusiast

Many people, including myself, are terrified of lightning. I mean, the sudden loud ”BAAAM” can really scare me sia 🙁
But there are some instances where lightning isn’t scary at all, where the sudden strike of lightning does not make you jump up like its a jump scare, when the lightning has already struck.

Fulgurites, in other words, Petrified Lightning, are the less-scary aftermath of when lightning strikes the ground. Fulgurites are derived from the word ”Fulgur”, meaning lightning in Latin. When lightning strikes and discharges into the ground, it fuses and vitrifies with the soil, sand, rocks,organic debris, mineral grains or other sediments into a glassy silica mineral. Fulgurites, therefore can be classified as Petrified Lightning.

The most common type of fulgurites are sand fulgurites, formed when lightning at a temperature beyond 1,800 degrees strikes on silica-rich sandy beaches. Some fulgurites are formed from ancient lightning that struck even before our parents were born, but to find those it’ll take a lot of labour, who knows where they are buried deep in the sand. Just imagine Thor striking a beach with lightning from his hammer, there would be so many fulgurites left on the beach 🙂

Fulgurite captures the shape of the lightning bolt when it disperses into the ground. No two lightning strikes can look the same. Each fulgurite mimics different and unique shapes and patterns of its lightning bolt. Kind of like us actually, we’re all unique in our own way, we can’t be perfect. I think this is the only type of lightning I find friendly, I mean it doesn’t make a lot of noise am I right?