CAN LIGHT­NING RE­ALLY TURN SAND INTO GLASS?

Girls' World - - Quiz -

— Shae­lyn, 9, MA

When light­ning hits sand, it doesn’t ex­actly turn into glass like you’ve seen in the movies, but it does cre­ate some­thing known as a ful­gu­rite: a hol­low tube of fused (melted to­gether) sand caused by a light­ning strike. Light­ning strikes at tem­per­a­tures of about 54,000 de­grees (that’s five times hot­ter than the sun!), which causes the sil­ica and quartz (types of min­er­als) in the sand to bond to­gether in less than a sec­ond. Even though light­ning strikes the Earth mil­lions of times a day, these cool-look­ing for­ma­tions — also called fos­silized light­ning — are hard to come by be­cause it takes spe­cial con­di­tions for them to form and be­cause they’re so del­i­cate and deep un­der­ground.

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