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Anyone ever come across any out and about? If so, let's see pics.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Crickets are loud here!

 

My wife and I like to look for fulgurites on the tops of high dunes and sandy peaks that you’d think would be good lightening attractors when we are hiking around, haven’t found any of our own yet. Do you have any you’ve found?

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There is a peak just north of my house that gets hit by lightning all the time.

For many years there was a big cross standing at the peak. It only lasted a month at a time. Several people replaced it, repaired it and maintained it. Lightning would take it down 5-6 times a year.

There is a big rock on top of that peak that is scarred up good by lightning. You can see tracks in a couple places where lightning has travelled through it.

I have searched under it and around it several times. We have set that cross up in fine material and searched under it too. The ground is not silica sand but you would think something would have been fused. I just can't see anything. 

About 60 miles away there is a lightning research station. It is about 9000 feet altitude. They shoot model rockets pulling fine wires into storms to attract lightning. Those wires end in a bucket of wet sand.

They try to make fulgerite but they do a lot of other stuff like measuring the gradient current as it dissipates into the earth.

I witnessed them launching rockets and they got a big lightning bolt to hit. But when they dumped the bucket there was no fulgerite. At least not that time.

Lightning hit a tree one afternoon and I happened to be just down the road. It blew the tree in half and you could clearly see where the electrons had travelled down a root and into the ground. I dug a couple feet into the dirt and could see where the root was cooked. No fulgerite.

I think the material needs to be finely divided sand like beach sand or drift sand. And it needs to be the right moisture content. Salt water would provide much better conductivity than fresh water or rainwater. Maybe if the ground was highly alkaline it would help.

I think conditions have to be just right to form them. I have found green glass looking "tubes" on the beach in Mexico I thought may be fulgerite. But they could have been some sort of sea life too. I couldn't really tell for sure. It looked like sand grains glued together with a film of pale green epoxy. Very fragile. I did find a couple fragments that looked branched. I honestly don't know if it was fulgerite, but it was at the very least a fulgerwrong.

I do keep my eye out for them. I have dug and scraped below several lightning strikes hoping to find one. But so far I have not found one that I recognize as fulgerite.

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16 minutes ago, Bedrock Bob said:

There is a peak just north of my house that gets hit by lightning all the time.

For many years there was a big cross standing at the peak. It only lasted a month at a time. Several people replaced it, repaired it and maintained it. Lightning would take it down 5-6 times a year.

There is a big rock on top of that peak that is scarred up good by lightning. You can see tracks in a couple places where lightning has travelled through it.

I have searched under it and around it several times. We have set that cross up in fine material and searched under it too. The ground is not silica sand but you would think something would have been fused. I just can't see anything. 

About 60 miles away there is a lightning research station. It is about 9000 feet altitude. They shoot model rockets pulling fine wires into storms to attract lightning. Those wires end in a bucket of wet sand.

They try to make fulgerite but they do a lot of other stuff like measuring the gradient current as it dissipates into the earth.

I witnessed them launching rockets and they got a big lightning bolt to hit. But when they dumped the bucket there was no fulgerite. At least not that time.

Lightning hit a tree one afternoon and I happened to be just down the road. It blew the tree in half and you could clearly see where the electrons had travelled down a root and into the ground. I dug a couple feet into the dirt and could see where the root was cooked. No fulgerite.

I think the material needs to be finely divided sand like beach sand or drift sand. And it needs to be the right moisture content. Salt water would provide much better conductivity than fresh water or rainwater. Maybe if the ground was highly alkaline it would help.

I think conditions have to be just right to form them. I have found green glass looking "tubes" on the beach in Mexico I thought may be fulgerite. But they could have been some sort of sea life too. I couldn't really tell for sure. It looked like sand grains glued together with a film of pale green epoxy. Very fragile. I did find a couple fragments that looked branched. I honestly don't know if it was fulgerite, but it was at the very least a fulgerwrong.

I do keep my eye out for them. I have dug and scraped below several lightning strikes hoping to find one. But so far I have not found one that I recognize as fulgerite.

I wonder if fulgurites require a conductor like a small plant root to channel the electrons through the sand to form a concentrated path, it gets vaporized in the process and leaves a glass tube behind?  It would be conceivable that the carbon and other organic remains of a small root are fully vaporized that way.

It  is interesting how fulgurites are tubes, another thought - is it because the sand in the middle is not fused and pours out of the fulgurites when they are found, or is it vaporized into a silicone plasma that vents out of the tube?

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5 hours ago, Beeper Bob said:

I remember a article in good old Desert magazine showing someone with a large collection and the process to carefully dig them out.

I remember this article as well. They had a couple rows of fulgurites which he had collected over the years.

I've been aware of what they are but never had an opportunity to hunt them since I wasn't near any sand dunes. Seems like New Mexico would be a good place to find them.

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4 hours ago, GotAU? said:

I wonder if fulgurites require a conductor like a small plant root to channel the electrons through the sand to form a concentrated path, it gets vaporized in the process and leaves a glass tube behind?  It would be conceivable that the carbon and other organic remains of a small root are fully vaporized that way.

It  is interesting how fulgurites are tubes, another thought - is it because the sand in the middle is not fused and pours out of the fulgurites when they are found, or is it vaporized into a silicone plasma that vents out of the tube?

:idunno:

I don't know why they are tubes. 

I have wondered exactly the same thing.

My guess is when that powerful bolt of electrons his the ground it pushes the sand aside. As it flows into the earth it meets resistance and fuses the sand around that stream of electrons. 

So the void in the tube would be the space that the electrons flowed. The thin fused glass would be the result of the resistance of the material as the electrons flowed into the earth.

In a round copper wire carrying a current there are many more electrons at the surface of the wire than at the core. They are repelling against one another. That's what makes them flow. So they are "under pressure" and force themselves apart and to the outer surface of the wire.

That is why a wire gets hot if you ring it with your wire stripper. When you scratch the very surface it creates a lot of resistance.

When the electrons conduct through the earth you would expect the same thing. They repel outward from the center. So the center of the fulgerite would be where the electron stream no longer is. And the crust would be where the electrons at the edges of the stream went to ground. 

That elecron stream forces itself into the ground like a stake made of ice. The stake disappears into the ground and just leaves the hole. When that electron stream goes into the ground it leaves a hole just like the stake. But the hole is lined with glass because of the heat.

But im just a carpenter and that is just a carpenter talking. I have no idea why they are hollow or how the electrons are behaving. These were just my musings since you brought it up.

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42 minutes ago, Bedrock Bob said:

:idunno:

I don't know why they are tubes. 

I have wondered exactly the same thing.

My guess is when that powerful bolt of electrons his the ground it pushes the sand aside. As it flows into the earth it meets resistance and fuses the sand around that stream of electrons. 

So the void in the tube would be the space that the electrons flowed. The thin fused glass would be the result of the resistance of the material as the electrons flowed into the earth.

In a round copper wire carrying a current there are many more electrons at the surface of the wire than at the core. They are repelling against one another. That's what makes them flow. So they are "under pressure" and force themselves apart and to the outer surface of the wire.

That is why a wire gets hot if you ring it with your wire stripper. When you scratch the very surface it creates a lot of resistance.

When the electrons conduct through the earth you would expect the same thing. They repel outward from the center. So the center of the fulgerite would be where the electron stream no longer is. And the crust would be where the electrons at the edges of the stream went to ground. 

That elecron stream forces itself into the ground like a stake made of ice. The stake disappears into the ground and just leaves the hole. When that electron stream goes into the ground it leaves a hole just like the stake. But the hole is lined with glass because of the heat.

But im just a carpenter and that is just a carpenter talking. I have no idea why they are hollow or how the electrons are behaving. These were just my musings since you brought it up.

Your explanation makes a lot of sense. I noticed that the space taken up by molten sand is less than that of the same amount of dry sand grains. You can see this effect in the Vimeo movie “solar sinter” on the closeups.  Maybe this also has something to do with the hollow tube. I knew about how electrons flow over the surface of a wire, but when in a sand substrate, the effects of them flowing down the outsides of their channel makes sense of why the sand would get fused on the sides rather than the middle. Fulgurites are really cool, hope to find some one day!

Edited by GotAU?
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