Fulgurite: Everything You Need To Know About The Lightning Stone

Fulgurite is a special stone that requires a lightning “ingredient” to be formed.

Here’s all you need to know about this thunderbolt stone.

What’s Fulgurite?

The word fulgurite is derived from a Latin word for lightning, “fulgur.”

The fulgurite meaning, therefore, describes how the rock is made.

It is also known as lightning stone or lightning rock in some areas.

When lightning hits the earth, it will be five times hotter than the surface of the sun.

Because of this heat, it manages to fuse silica sand and clay to create fulgurites.

Fulgurites are hollow, glassy tubes, and they are classified as a variety of the mineraloid lechatelierite.

While most Fulgurite is made by lightning from thunderstorms, it can also be created from atomic blasts, meteor strikes.

Sometimes, when human-made high voltage devices fall on the ground, fulgurite can also be created. 

How is Fulgurite Made?

Fulgurite is made when air expands in the presence of moisture.

This is what leads to sand fulgurite formation.

When there is a lot of energy, there is more heat, and more sand is melted to form long tubes.

The melted sand creates a tubular structure because of surface tension. 

There are instances where these tubes can collapse before the glass is formed.

This causes the formation of more irregular structures.

To melt, sand requires a temperature that is more than 1400 ° C.

Because lightning can reach temperatures much higher than this, it, therefore, causes the surrounding quartz grains to melt in a split second. 

You should note, however, that materials in the ground have different electrical conducting abilities.

As a result, there will be a variation in temperature from one point to the other.

In some rocks, the sudden cooling will cause a glassy interior texture due.

This is because the atoms will not have enough time when cooling to properly arrange themselves.

You might also notice that the glass will contain some air bubbles. 

Physical Properties of Fulgurite

Fulgurites are rare occurring ‘rocks’ in nature.

If we consider how Fulgurite is created, we can refer to it as a metamorphic rock.

It is obtained from preexisting rocks and transformed by heat and pressure.

Read on to find more about fulgurite properties and physical attributes. 

Usually, fulgurites are hollow, and they have a rough exterior with a smooth interior.

They have a variable color scheme since they are not created from a consistent mix of sands and rock.

The color will depend on the chemical composition of the sands and rocks present when the fulgurite is created.

The fulgurites form irregular branched tubes. 

The most common types of fulgurite are sand fulgurites.

They are branching, more or less cylindrical tubes which have a diameter ranging from one centimeter to several centimeters.

Sand fulgurites are usually less than 3 meters (10 feet) long.

They might, however, reach lengths of 20 m (66 ft).

The central cavity of these rocks is often lined with glass, and you can notice some adhering sand grains on the exterior. 

The second type of fulgurites, known as rock fulgurites, are thin, glassy crusts on rocks.

These can be found on mountain summits like Toluca, and Mt. Thielsen, Oregon.

Rock fulgurites are usually low in silica, and they display a wide variety of colors depending on the composition of the rock. 

The hardness of fulgurite is dependent on the kind of sand or rocks that were hit by lightning to create it.

Generally, it is not hard rock, and it can be easily damaged.

Types of Fulgurite

There are two main types of fulgurites.

These are sand fulgurites and rock fulgurites.

There are, however, at least two other types that are listed in texts.

Fulgurites are classified based on their composition, which in turn is dependent on the ground that created them. 

Type I: These are formed when there is cloud to ground lightning strikes on the sand.

This form of fulgurite is shaped like a tube, and it might or not have a collapsed center. 

Type II: These are created when lightning strikes soil.

Type two fulgurites may occur as hollow tubes that are branching, or they may also be irregularly shaped.

Usually, you may find that type two fulgurite will have some droplets or granules on their surface.

This, however, depends on whether the soil that was struck is rich in silt, gravel, dust, or clay.

Type III: Type III fulgurites are formed when lightning strikes calcic sediments. They have thick, sometimes glazed walls.

Type IV: When lightning strikes a rock, type four fulgurites are created. They appear to crust on the rock, but they might also look like tunnels into it.

Type V: Type V fulgurites are also known as droplet fulgurites.

The droplets usually have a round or filamentous appearance.

Unlike all the other types, droplet fulgurites are classified according to their shape instead of the soil composition. 

Finding Fulgurites

To find fulgurites, you can either go in search of them in the wild, buy them in shops online, or even make your own. 

Buying Fulgurites Online

You can find fulgurites all over the world, although they are generally rare.

Because of the unusual structure, delicate nature, and origin, fulgurite value is more than just regular stones.

They are, however, not comparable to precious metals.

There are websites that sell fulgurites for as low as $15.

You might find that some more attractive pieces or those that would have been transformed into jewelry may fetch a lot more. 

Reputable dealers are geologists or rock hounds.

You can either buy fulgurites from them or sell them your own.

When you are selling, another alternative would be to just advertise online on sites like eBay and Amazon.

Making Your Own Fulgurite

Perhaps not surprisingly, there are many individuals who enjoy manufacturing their own fulgurites.

This can be done by sticking lightning rods in the sand before thunderstorms.

Another method would be to use a high-voltage power supply in a laboratory.

Because of the controlled conditions, man-made fulgurites tend to be a lot more attractive than natural ones.

However, it is very important to consider safety when trying to make fulgurites. 

Going in Search of Fulgurites in the Wild

You can find fulgurites in areas that are regularly struck by lightning.

They are commonly found on mountain peaks, desert highlands, and beaches, in a lot of the places you go to find cool rocks.

There are peaks where people commonly go in search of fulgurites.

These include the French Alps, Sierra Nevada range, and the Rocky Mountains, among others.

They are also formed along the Florida coastline.

This area has a very high lightning activity.

You can also try to go look for fulgurites around lakes and other bodies of water.

People can also find sand fulgurites in areas like the Libyan desert.

However, it is not clear if these were created by lightning or from a meteor impact.

How to Make Fulgurite

The most important thing to consider when manufacturing your own fulgurites is safety.

Petrified lightning yourself is not a joke.

The first method would be to use natural lightning.

Check your local weather report and find out if there is lightning activity expected.

It’s very important that you finish preparations hours before the storm arrives.

Install a lightning rod of between twelve to eighteen inches long into the sand.

If you want, you can also set up some colored sand or granular mineral for a better outcome.

You can never be sure if lightning will strike your rod, but you will get better chances if you work on a clear area where your rod is taller than the surroundings.

Make sure you are conducting your business away from people and animals. You should also go back to check long after the storm has passed. 

Rocket Fulgurite

If you don’t want to wait for lightning to strike, which might never happen, you can attract lightning using a D model rocket.

Attach a bucket of sand to the rocket with copper wire and launch it at a thunderhead.

You should note, however, that though this method is highly successful, it’s not the safest. 

Make an Artificial Fulgurite Using Electricity

This is probably the most dangerous among the three methods.

It involves forcing electricity into clean sand using a transformer.

You might notice, however, that this fulgurite will not be as branched as the type created by lightning.

This is because lightning is way more powerful than electricity.

What Do You Do With Fulgurites?

There are several fulgurite uses you might want to know about.

Most collectors look for fulgurite because of its appearance.

There are, however, some people who believe in fulgurite supernatural abilities and magical uses.

They believe that the rock can be used to help focus divine energy and enhance creativity.

Others even believe that they can be used to heal various illnesses.

In extreme cases, people attempt to use fulgurites to summon gods or demons.

These uses, however, do not seem to be part of any traditional lore.

Apart from the uses above, you can also use fulgurites as a natural source of some unusual minerals and chemicals.

Some of them contain shocked quartz.

This material has a crystal structure that differs from that of regular quartz.

They also contain C60 and C70 fullerenes, forms of silicon-metal alloy, and reduced phosphides [Fe3P, (Fe, Ni)3P, and Ti3P2].

Fulgurites are very fragile, so they don’t really have many other uses.

Apart from the above uses, scientists also use them to study the composition of air in historic times.

This is because they trap air when they are created.

Others also use them to calculate the frequency of lightning in a specific area.  

Detailed Look Into Fulfurite and Spiritual Healing Claims

There are people who believe that fulgurite possesses some healing energies.

It is believed that these energies can help with spiritual healing and spiritual awakening.

Texts indicate that the person using fulgurite will also be more in contact with their divine mind.

Because there is no scientific research and evidence at play, it’s best to consider this as beliefs. 

Many people who use fulgurite this way believe that it can clear the path for unlimited access to psychic energies.

This, in their view, helps to strengthen their sense of perception and faith.

This is probably due to the way fulgurite is created.

The association is that a lot of energy is released when fulgurite is created.

Therefore people believe that it can also store some of that energy which they can then attempt to tap into. 

Are There Any Other Important Things to Know About Fulgurite?

Fulgurite is real glass.

Therefore, you might want to know that it’s quite resistant to weathering.

Because of this, it is usually well preserved for very long periods of time.

This is why scientists use fulgurites as a paleoenvironmental indicator.

For instance, you will find a lot of fulgurites in the Sahara desert.

Presently, this area shows very little lightning activity, so whatever fulgurite is there was created a very long time ago.

This also serves as an indicator that there once was a very different set of weather conditions in this desert.

Some pieces of fulgurite that have been found were dated 250 million years ago.

Can Fulgurite be Confused With any Other Material?

It can be difficult to confuse fulgurite with any other material.

It’s fairly easy material to identify.

When looking for fulgurite, you just need to know what to look for.

The only challenge when you are trying to buy some is to identify whether you are looking at natural or man-made fulgurite.

The important fact to know there is that man-made fulgurites will probably be less branched if they are made using electricity. 

Some people make fulgurites using real lighting by either installing lighting rods into the ground or launching rockets towards thunderstorms.

These types of fulgurites will be more consistent in terms of color and texture since the one making them will probably select a type of sand they want to use.

Other than that, they will probably be similar to natural types. 

Interested in learning more about unique rocks and minerals like stilbite, turkey fat mineral, or velvet malachite? You can also check out our blog for our latest articles.