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What Really Happens When Lightning Strikes Sand: The Science Behind a Viral Photo. When it hits a sandy beach high in silica or quartz and the temperature goes beyond 1800 degrees Celsius, the lighting can fuse the sand into silica glass. The blast of a billion Joules radiates through the ground making fulgurite –hollow, glass-lined tubes with a sandy outside. Petrified lightning.What is it called when lightning strikes sand?
When lightning strikes silica, quartzose sand, and soil through the ground, it creates long and hollow tubes known as fulgurites (though glass tubes, they are not transparent or clear-glass structures). The name fulgurite stems from the Latin word 'fulgur', meaning thunderbolt.How does Lightning melt sand?
When lightning strikes, the bolt of extreme heat melts the sand and instantaneously forms a twisted, branching piece of clear, shining glass. While it is true that lightning can and does melt sand to form glass sculptures that resemble tree branches, the movie’s portrayal of how this happens is not accurate.