Found: Petrified Lightning (flugurite)

Feb 28, 2004
Newport Beach, CA
My friend and I found this extraordinary piece of flugurite while camping at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. This type of formation occurs when lightning glassifies the sand it strikes, forming a very distinct "model" of the lightning. The sand was very hard (like glass) all around this specimen...probably in a diameter of 9 feet or more around it. Who knows how far this formation went below the surface? This is an especially unique find given that White Sands is the largest and only (?) gypsum dune field in the World. Pretty Cool!

"The glass lining of a fulgurite is naturally produced
silica glass, formed from the fusion of sand at
a temperature of about 1800° centigrade."

(i have more pictures if anyone is interested)

For a good read on this see:

Having lived out in that area (Stationed at White Sands for several years) I'd certainly be interested in seeing more photos. I never did see one though I did get to see the effects of lightning on our radio system there at the WSMR Emergency Room. It wasn't near as pretty as this.
As a senior geology major here at TTU I have considered heading out to white sands to take a look around for one. Being a geology nut and an avid rock and mineral collector, a fulgurite is one thing that I would love to add to my collection. Unfortunaly you are not allowed to collect in that location and the fines are steep for people who break that rule. What I would have done is hidden it, marked it with GPS, go back to school, think up a reason to study that area, apply for a research collection permit from the government, and then return to study the fulgurite in which would need to be removed for "further study". Left to the elements that awesome specimen is likely to weather back to the gypsum sand it formed from. I would love to see more on this; please post more photographs or shoot them to me in an email.

Thanks for posting your find!!

Graham Butler
graham.butler at
That's a nice one...much prettier than some of the ones I have seen. One of these days I'm going to find one in the desert, the following day, after seeing it "being made" the night before. Something I have always wanted to do... :)