For many years, itinerant miners in of the Serra de Espinhaςo Mountains of Brazil have reported finding “flash stones” – now demonstrated to be the result of lightning traveling through a quartz crystal while still in the ground. The Espinhaςo range is frequently hit by orographic thunderstorms, which produce the greatest number of lightning strikes. Interestingly, orographic lightning has some peculiar features: it reaches velocities of 160,000 m/s (524,934 ft/s), and it achieves plasma temperatures of 30,000°C in nanoseconds. Evidences of the effect of this special lightning on lightning-struck quartz crystals are the presence of beta-quartz (which only forms at temperatures over 573°C), along with the presence of cristobalite, the high-temperature modification of quartz (which forms at temperatures of about 1,715°C). Also, an enormous pressure of about 35.00 bar (508 psi) is evidence by the presence of coesite, the rare high-pressure polymorph of quartz. The stress caused by this very rapid heating and cooling, along with the intense electrical charge and the high pressure, creates a characteristic zigzag fracture pattern on the surface of the affected quartz crystals.
Reproducing the effects of lightning on quartz crystals in a laboratory setting has proven to be very challenging. After exploring a variety of methods to try to reproduce the characteristic patterns, the study concluded that this pattern could not be created by any mechanical process.
At the high-voltage lab at the Technical Institute of Vienna, Austria and at Ilmenau University in Germany, scientists were finally able to match the unique, shallow zigzag lightning tracks on quartz that is the hallmark of lightning struck quartz. To form these crystals it takes a unique combination of geological, morphological, climatological, and meteorological conditions. This means that lightning-struck quartz is very scarce, making it a highly valued item for mineral and gem collectors.
People who are interested in metaphysics and crystal healing believe that lightning-struck quartz crystals have unique and powerful qualities. We offer detailed information about this in the description of the individual crystals we offer for sale.
We are fortunate to have become friends with well-known mineral dealer Luis Menezes, who has been supplying us with these unique crystals since 2005. At the Tucson show this year, Luis had brought about 8 boxes of newly uncovered lightning struck quartz, and gave us first pick of the lot. Click here to visit the special gallery in our website which features these very special crystals