Question: What Are Fulgurites?
The word fulgurite comes from the Latin word fulgur, which means thunderbolt. Fulgurites are fascinating forms created by lightning strikes.
Answer: A fulgurite is a glass tube formed when lightning strikes sand. Usually fulgurites are hollow, with a rough exterior and smooth interior. Lightning from thunderstorms makes most fulgurites, but they also form from atomic blasts, meteor strikes and from man-made high voltage devices falling onto the ground.
Fulgurite ChemistryFulgurites typically form in sand, which is mostly silicon dioxide. The melted sand forms a glass that is called lechatelierite. Lechatelierite is an amorphous material that is considered to be a mineraloid, similar to obsidian. Fulgurites come in a range of colors, including translucent white, tan, black and green. The coloration comes from impurities in the sand.