Sportsmens Report
September 21, 2018
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Sportsman’s Report: Geologist enthusiasts rock out

By: Bill Hanson
June 22, 2018

Rockin’ out means something different to a rock nut. The magic of Fulgurite is something to behold. During thunder storms over the desert lightning strikes the sandy soil, tentacles of lightning stab down and fuses the silica in a few milliseconds. Rock hounds find them by dragging a garden hoe in the sand, a real nut attaches a powerful magnet to pick up the stray meteorite. When you hit a clank, start digging. If you are lucky and hit a piece of Fulgurite go gently, the strike is likely to have many arms and tiny forks, they can be fragile. The new stone can also be 10 feet long and have dozens of forks. Some are so ornate they are nearly impossible to hold — they can crush under their own weight. Some creative folk try to make Fulgurite by planting an iron bar in a zone with lots of silica. There are examples of fused silica that are long tubes of glass, to hold one is almost a religious experience. To check out the many faces of Fulgurite do a Google ‘Image’ search, you will find hundreds of photos. To learn more do a Wikipedia search for the same and get some of the details. 

Some rocks bring a sense of wonder. Consider one of the most rare, petrified wood found in America, Woodworthia. It is not just any crumby sixty-million-year old piece of wood, this one goes way back to 220 MYO (million years old) before the dinosaurs. 

There are several species but the real jaw dropper is that they have survived all these years, most fossilized wood or any other gizmo is crushed back to sand over time. Go to Google ‘image’ search and check out the different colors and forms of this amazing stone. Although Wikipedia has little on the subject the ‘image’ search will be of great value. Ignore the Gecko of the same name, he cares not of rocks unless they have a juicy bug be-bopping along.

Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Mycological Society. Look for his column each week in The Community Voice.