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Help to identify this

  1. Mar 5, 2008 #1
    I witnessed a bolt of lightning ( for lack of description) come out of the ground in my back yard, then a huge ball of electricity, then the ball scattered. It was split second so I dont know what happened first , the ball or the bolt. There was no noise involved, but a lot of electric in the air. I had no idea what it was but freaked me out enough for me to go back in the house and lock the doors. I learned a few weeks later that we were having the leonid showers then. This happened on thanksgiving 2004. I live in Pa on 17 acres. back yard is a corn field. I saw this phenomena approx 100-200 feet away from my house. Bolt was approx 6 feet diam and ball was approx 20-30 feet diam.

    I looked in the area where this happened and found this black shiny rock, I have had it analyzed to see if it was a meteorite and was told it is not. I brought it to the Univ of Penn geology dept thety said it looked like a piece of glass not fully melted and rapidly cooled. They also said it looks like it has Garnets in it. Sent it to the Smithsonian, they believed it to be a glass slag. it is rich in zinc and lead, it is magnetic,it scratches glass easily. I have attached some photos and analysis. Maybe someone can decipher. I have become obssessed with finding out what this is,as I believe it is connected to the phenomena I saw. Any help would be appreciated[/ATTACH]

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 5, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 5, 2008 #2
    I could not get the analysis to upload may be to big. Could email it to anyone interested.
    Thanks again
  4. Mar 6, 2008 #3


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    What were the weather conditions when you saw the bolt/ball?
  5. Mar 6, 2008 #4
    Clear, no clouds, cold.
  6. Mar 6, 2008 #5
    clear, cold, no clouds. When this happened I had just opened the door to go out and have a cigarette. As soon as I opened the door this happened. As I was standing there in amazement and wondering what it could have been I got the distinct feeling someone was watching me from the field (very strange) also very electrified sensations. Got scared and went back in.LOL I have searched the area and found no other "rocks that look like this. As I said the Smithsonian believes it to be slag but I would think there would be other pieces if it was dumped on the property. Atleast one more piece should be found.
  7. Mar 9, 2008 #6
    I don't know much about geology or lightning. But I know that if lightning hits sand then glass is formed from silicon in the tremendous heat.
  8. Mar 10, 2008 #7
    Right, fulgerites are formed. I say it was like lightning, very intense bright. I have been close to a lightning strike (100 yrds), it is very loud and very frightening. When this happened there was not a peep, nothing just bright bolt, ball and scatter. My analysis shows only 76% total, but I maxed out on lead and zinc. I was told that the other 24% could be in that by the smithsonian. Nobody can really identify this thing, they say it might be slag but it doesnt resemble slag. Also I would think I would find other pieces if it were slag and dumped on the property.
  9. Mar 10, 2008 #8


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    I have found some thing like this whilst out metal detecting, the object does not register on the detector it is just some times one finds them in the spoil, the biggest lump i ever found was about 2 inches, it was very black and glassy looking with smooth rounded edges, i am sure it was not a rare mineral as there is none in the area, and i doubt it was slag.

    Have a look here, the stuff i found does not fit any of the rocks but comes close to obsidian.

  10. Mar 10, 2008 #9


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    Can you post a picture of it?
  11. Mar 10, 2008 #10


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    My collection of rocks were chucked when i moved home, i only have the vertebra left.
  12. Apr 29, 2008 #11


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    Sd2112, a bollide is a meteor that disintegrates before hitting the ground. The one time that I saw one, I actually called the Detroit airport because I thought that I had witnessed an aeroplane exploding.
    I'm wondering if you might have seen one that made it to within a few inches of the ground before blowing up. It might have slowed to subsonic, so you might not have heard it, but retained enough heat to self-destruct and cause the symptoms that you reported.
  13. Apr 29, 2008 #12


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    Sounds a bit like ball lightning (I think).
    Ivan Seeking has collected a series of sources related to it here. You might want to have a look at a few and see if it matches what you saw.
  14. Apr 30, 2008 #13

    Can you say plasma?
  15. Apr 30, 2008 #14
    Well I thought of ball lightning but I found this rock and have not found anything similar. It has some rare earth elements in it. Everyone I have sent it to is either baffled or as the Smithsonian said they believe it to be a glassy slag rich in zinc and lead. I cant really get a definitive answer to the elements, Im not a chemist and I dont know if these elements are almost always found in slag. It has some berrylium in it and when I found out the govt was concerned about their spy sattelite having Berrylium in it was thinking maybe a part of that.LOL I know far stretch seeing it would most likely burn up on reentry. When it happened it was a very clear and calm night. I could email anyone who would like to see the analysis if that would help. I appreciate any and all your interest seeing I am baffled at what I saw and what I found. Thanks
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