This pretty specimen is Fulgurite. A tree might be blasted apart by lightning but when it goes straight to ground in sandy soil, given the right conditions of that soil, it melts a path which is preserved in glassy tubes called Fulgurites. The name coming from the Latin - Fulgur- meaning lightning.
The longest know specimen was found in Florida and consisted of three branches totalling 38 feet. The best place to find them is in desert sand where the wind can uncover the fragile branches.
When they're preserved in deserts for thousands of years they can provide scientists with past climate information. Researchers have analysed bubbles of gas in a 15,000 year-old fulgurite from the Libyan desert. The gases have suggested that the soil conditions at the moment the lightning struck were similar to those in the southerly Sahel region of today.
Geologists discovered another type of fulgurite in Greenland which ran down a rocky hillside transforming the rock surface into a smooth glass. The glass was coloured blue, red and yellow and the lightning was attracted to this place because of its iron-rich rock formations.
Something else that caught my eye considering the looney times our family is going through was this:
"All emotions affect our thinking and motivation, so it may be best to avoid making important decisions under their influence. Yet strangely there is one emotion that seems to help us make good choices. In their study, the Chicago researchers found that sad people took time to consider the various alternatives on offer, and ended up making the best choices. In fact many studies show that depressed people have the most realistic take on the world. Psychologists have even coined a name for it: depressive realism."
Okay, I'm with them on that. I am taking a very depressing realistic view of losing any weight off my lardarse considering the weather which makes me want food, dealing with a parent who makes me want to eat in large soothing quantities and aversion to exercise in freezing cold conditions where I might fall over except when I stagger out to buy chocolate.Mind you I don't have to go out to fall over. I fell off the blanket box yesterday, that would be half fell off, since one foot remained on it while the other went skidding down the sharp edge. The bruise is a ripper, black and blue shin. Here we go with the depressive realism again, I've lost my ablitity to climb anything so there goes the plans for abseiling next summer.