Mar 10, 2010

Fulgurite

What is that?

It is called Fulgurite. Rock Fulgurite in fact.

We found it in May 4, 2002. My youngest son’s motorcycle foot peg hit the ground, exposing as he described this “really weird rock” in the woods beside our house.

Unable to identify what we had stumbled on, we took some of it to Dr. Nelson Shaffer, head of Indiana University Geological Survey, who confirmed that it was ROCK FULGURITE, a rarely occurring phenomenom.

This is what it looked like on the surface.
The hole at the top of the photo is where Joel's foot peg broke open the ground.
We could stick our finger inside and feel a glassy surface.


The dig site.
We used very specialized tools to remove the rock .
Tools like screwdrivers and an can of air.

After careful evaluation, Dr. Swopes, Indiana University-Purdue University, also comfirmed it as ROCK FULGURITE.

A fulgurite is where the lightning strikes the ground and turns it into glass.
It is normally found on beaches.
Lightning strikes the sand and fuses the sand into little glass tubes like straws.
When the tides go out, beach combers can find them sticking up in the sand.

Rock fulgurite is the same thing but not on the beach.
We were told that the dirt had to be just right.
Dry and have a lot of sand in it.

The conditions must have been right at our house.
We live on a hill and have very little top soil before you get to our hills rocky base.

We thought it was magma or something.
"Oh no! We live on a volcano!" Is what we were thinking at first.

Thankfully that wasn't it at all.
The outside of it is like cinders that make up cinder blocks.
The inside is green glass.
If you look at it very closely you can see thousands of bubbles in the glass.
It looks like you froze the top of a Coke after just pouring it.

There was a movie that came out after we found this in our yard.
The movie was called "Sweet Home Alabama".
It had a guy driving metal rods in the ground to create these beautiful fulgurites.
Hollywood.
The one in the movie was so fake and beautiful.
It wasn't covered in sand or cinders.
The beauty in these is on the inside and it's edges.

You have to see it to really appreciate it.


Starting to uncover it.
It is like the lightening froze in the Earth.


In a May 17, 2002, e-mail Dr. Vladimir Rakov, University of Florida, Gainsville, said after viewing the photos that it was a “rather unusual” and “very interesting find”.


Several pieces of our ROCK FULGURITE collection can be found at

The Indiana University, Geological Survey,
Indiana University-Purdue University, Geological Survey,
University of Indianapolis and
the Indiana State Museum.

Which called me today (State Museum) and said that they were placing our rock in an exhibit at the Museum.

Cool!

I will keep you updated on it.

If you would like to own a piece of this rock just contact me in the comments section for now.

Here is a site my brother in law set up to preserve a record of our find. HERE
Be sure to click the gallery button at the bottom.

4 comments:

Me said...

Crazy that it has been eight years ago! Glad our soil can do something because it sure can't grow squat!

Brian B said...

So true.
It grows tree and weird rocks.

Brian Ashmore said...

Maybe you've got some new fulgurite around the area where the power lines went down. You never know. Wouldn't that be cool if you could make it yourself?

Where's my fulgurite?!!! :)

That stuff is SO cool! Very cool that the museum called to let you know your amazing find is going on display. You're going to have to start wearing a top hat and smoking a pipe... you know, upstanding museum contributor type stuff.

Blong Thao said...

Hello Brian. My name is James. I just saw your post here about fulgurite. It is 13 years now since you posted about your fulgurite information. I have been looking for a rock made of lighting for the longest time. I am questioning if you still have some pieces of your fulgurite available. If you are can you please email me at thaob79@uwosh.edu to let me know. I am questioning if you would be able to give me a piece. If not, I am willing to buy a piece from you . Please let me know. Thank you so much.