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Lightning-induced shock lamellae in quartz

Authors: 
Gieré R., Wimmenauer W., Müller-Sigmund H., Wirth R., Lumpkin G.R., Smith K.L.
Year: 
2 015
Source: 
American Mineralogist
Abstract: 
Using transmission electron microscopy we show that planar deformation lamellae occur within quartz in the substrate of a rock fulgurite, i.e., a lightning-derived glass. These lamellae exist only in a narrow zone adjacent to the quartz/fulgurite boundary and are comparable to planar deformation features (“shock lamellae”) caused by hypervelocity impacts of extra-terrestrial objects. Our observations strongly suggest that the lamellae described here have been formed as a result of the fulgurite-producing lightning strike. This event must have generated a transient pressure pulse, whose magnitude, however, is uncertain at this stage.
EES Authors: 
Reto Gieré

Department of Earth and Environmental Science / University of Pennsylvania, 251 Hayden Hall, 240 South 33rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6316