Art Created by Florida’s Violent Weather

July 17, 2019 | All Posts, Art, Nature

Fulgurite art created by Florida’s violent weather near Green Cove Springs holds a Guiness Book World Record. One of the most common summer events in Florida is the afternoon thunderstorm and Green Cove Springs is no exception.  Although sometimes the storms go around the city,  there is usually plenty of thunder and lightning. I will explain the go around “cove effect” in my next blog because this blog is about lightning, the petrified kind!
Lightning Bolt
Powerful lightning strikes Earth

Petrified Lightning

Lighting, especially “petrified lightning”, is common throughout the world. Fans of the movie “Sweet Home Alabama” are enamored by the hollow, glass-lined tubes with sand adhering to the outside. These permanent records of where lightning strikes the earth are called Fulgurites by scientists.

Lightning Research

In fact, about a half hour from Green Cove Springs at Camp Blanding, the University of Florida maintains a lightning research facility by agreement with the U.S. Army National Guard.  Researchers there study Fulgurite art  created by Florida’s violent weather.
Excavation of Fulgurite
Fulgurite from Camp Blanding in Guiness Book of World Records

World Record

Guinness Book
In 1996, the University of Florida research team reported the discovery of a record-breaking Fulgurite at Camp Blanding. It had two branches, one almost 16 feet long and the other reaching 17 feet. They have been confirmed by Guinness to be the longest fulgurites on record.  

Excavation

Excavating a long tube like these researchers did took experts who are skilled in working with special tools and who are used to digging up fossil bones. It’s definitely an art.

Where to find Fulgurites

Don’t expect to go “Fulguriting” at Camp Blanding.  It is a secured military training base for all branches of military reservists so access is very limited. However, the soil here in this whole area is mostly sand, the main ingredient of a Fulgurite, and lightning is very prevalent.  Therefore, small Fulgurites of all shapes and sizes can be found in this area.

Healing Properties of Fulgurites

Some people even believe that Fulgurites have healing properties that open the way to connect with Divine energy.

Sweet Home Alabama

As you may recall from the popular movie, Sweet Home Alabama, the lightning melts the sand, which solidifies again when it cools to form the hollow glassy material. The extreme temperature required to create a Fulgurite by instantly melting sand must be at least 1800 degrees Celsius which is no problem because most lightning strikes have a temperature of 2500 degrees Celsius.

Power of Nature

In Florida we know that this power of nature can collide with us or with our infrastructure killing people, melting underground cables, starting fires, knocking out A/C compressors and a multitude of other hazards.
Lightning burns underground cable
Lightning damage to underground cable infrastructure

Healthy Respect

And just like we know not to feed the alligators, the locals here have a very healthy respect for lightning. We always clear the pool and seek shelter when storms approach. Later, after the storm, we will look for the Fulgurites which, incidentally, are available online everywhere from Etsy to Ebay for whatever amount you are willing to pay.

Lodging for your next Fulgurite expedition

Look no further than River Park Inn for a place to stay whether you are looking for fulgurites, looking to relocate or just looking for a great get away.