Thursday, June 30, 2005

Today's Word: Fulgurite


Lightning is one of nature's most dramatic displays of energy! It's fast, hot, powerful - and completely wild. Meteorological may claim to be able to track big storms, and it's certainly wise to have a lightning-rod on your house, but the fact is, you can't contain or control lighting. You might be able to provoke it, but lightning is unpredictable!

People have had a love affair with everything that lightning represents for as long as words have been recorded. It's beautiful to watch, but is incredibly dangerous!

Fulgurites are an amazing phenomenon. When lighting strikes the ground, it doesn't just go away! No! All of that energy is transferred into whatever the bolt hits...sometimes, that's metal, and the metal melts, but sometimes, it's sand! If lighting hits sand on the beach, something amazing happens! That sand is instantly transformed into a delicate glass column. The lighting's energy is captured in a three-dimensional portrait by the silica that makes up sand. The fulgurite branches and twists, just like the bolt of lightning that creates it!

You can find fulgurites, but you have to use the patience and caution of an archaeologist in order to avoid breaking the glass branches.

These rare and delicate glass formations are a testament to the power of nature and the ever-transitory essence of energy. This is serious stuff! All energy, even the most wild and intangible can be used to turn the mundane into the unexpected and beautiful.



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