Mineral Monday: Fulgurite

Each Monday, explore the many amazing minerals, fossils and historical objects on display at the W.M. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum with curator Garrett Barmore.

Fulgurite, shown here, is just one of over 100,000 objects on display and stored at the W.M. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum.

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1/22/2018 | By: Jennifer Sande |

Welcome to the first episode of Mineral Monday! Each week, learn about one of the many specimens on display at the W.M. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum with curator Garrett Barmore.

This week's object is fulgurite. Before you watch the video, can you guess how fulgurite is formed just by looking at it?

Garrett Barmore with fulgurite

Fulgurite forms when lightning strikes silica rich sand. Silica sand melts at about 1800° Celsius. Most lightning strikes at around 2500° celsius.

Fulgurite

Fulgurite is relatively rare because the conditions have to be just right for it to form.

Want to see fulgurite in person? The W.M. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the first Saturday of the month from 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Located in the Mackay School of Mines Building at the University of Nevada, Reno, the W. M. Keck Museum houses an outstanding collection of minerals, ores, fossil specimens and photographs, in addition to mining related relics. The museum is also home to some of the spectacular Mackay Silver Collection, created by Tiffany & Co., for John Mackay and completed in 1878.

The first 25 visitors to mention this episode will receive a Mineral Monday: fulgurite button! For directions and museum details, visit unr.edu/keck. Want to receive Mineral Monday in your inbox each week? Sign up here!

See you next MIneral Monday!

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