Abstract

Sand fulgurites fragments from a siliceous coastal dune field in North Queensland have been examined with a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The fulgurites show a number of morphological and textural features which can be related to the process of their formation when lightning strikes sandy sediments. The outer surfaces of the fulgurite tubes possess a rough surface texture due to numerous vesicles and partly fused adhering quartz grains, whereas the inner surface of the central lumen is typically much smoother and has a vitreous appearance. "Zip-like trails," "needles" or "threads" of silica, and clusters of iron-stained quartz silt particles have been observed on the walls of the lumen, but SEM analysis has provided no evidence that the fulgurites examined were formed by fusion of quartz sand around plant roots.

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