What are fulgurites? Alana explains... | News
Grand Rapids, MI (WZZM) - It's Lighting Safety Awareness Week for the National Weather Service.
Of course, everyone should have a healthy respect for the power of the lightning bolt; but there's so much more to appreciate and understand than just the destruction.
Lightning strikes the earth thousands of times every day.
Shelby Olson, Owner of Mac Woods Dune Rides in Mears said, "We get quite a few thunderstorms."
Usually, all we have to show for those storms is some scorched earth.
But once in a great while; Mary Jane Dockeray, who holds a degree in geology, says there's something more.
"Fulgurite is a phenomenon when occurs when lighting strikes sand or something similar," said Dockeray, who is also the founding curator of Blanford Nature Center.
Shelby Olson's husband, Chris, recalls finding this rare rock.
Chris Olson said, "I ended up looking down and... there was a good size three inch fulgurite laying right on the ground right there."
Dockeray says they're not very common, "In my long career of 60 some years now, I haven't had very many of them brought in at least for me to look at."
She's sad to say that she's never found one but her only consolation is that west Michigan's beaches are "pretty big."
Chris Olson says, "I just got lucky that day."
But for some, what's left behind after the storm is more than enough.
Mary Jane Dockeray said, "You bet! That's as close as I ever want to come to one."