All About Lightning Glass Sculptures That You Must Know

lightning glass sculptures

A character in the movie ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ makes use of lightning on a beach to make a glass sculpture. He uses a lighting rod to attract the lightning towards the sand. When the lighting strikes the sand it leads to the formation of a sculpture. While it is true that lighting can melt the sand to make sculptures that look like branches but the portrayal in the movie is wrong.

This phenomenon can take place anywhere where there is sand but it has not happened until now. No one had triggered such an effect with a lightning rod and it is wrong to do so. Part of it is because lightning is very unpredictable and also because it is very wrong to go near a beach or sandy place when lightning is taking place. The lightning glass sculpture formed by the sand is called fulgurite. The lighting glass structure does not resemble the movie at all and let us know more about it.

Real Lightning Glass Sculptures

A clock tower sitting under a window in a dark room

The lightning strikes at 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit which means that it is enough for the formation of a fulgurite which needs 1,800 degrees. These are commonly formed on the mountains because the lightning strikes the peaks quite often. The fulgurites are formed due to loose, dry silica that does not have any clay in it. You can find this type of sand on the beaches and on the mountains that is the reason fulgurites are formed there.

These are 1 to 2 inches in diameter and have a height of approximately 2 feet. There is a resemblance to tree branches as this is the pattern in which the lightning strikes the sand and that gets imprinted.

Scientists Can Make Glass Sculptures

A large brick building with a window in a dark room

Although no one in the world has triggered the process of making a fulgurite using a lightning rod, scientists have attempted to do so. The first trial was successful and three separate scientific teams took part in the experiment. In the course of three months they triggered about 20 strikes and they found fulgurites when they dug up the sand. This experiment is hard and it requires a lot of effort and also expensive equipment so it cannot be done regularly.

Danger Of Beaches And Lightning

Lightning is able to change sand into glass because it has a very high temperature which means that if it falls on a human it can kill him. The charge from lightning causes severe injuries and also causes mental health issues. During lightning it is safe to be under a shelter so that the lightning does not strike you.

A beach is one of the most dangerous places to be in when there is lightning so beware of it. Lightning is attracted to water and it can fall on dry surfaces near to it. Therefore, do not even think of any experiment just take shelter in the nearest spot.


Lightning glass structure is a fascinating process but very dangerous as well. You do not have to try it as it can prove to be fatal and the lightning can cause severe injuries to you. There are videos on the internet related to the formation of fulgurites and you can watch them to know more about these figures.

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