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Lechatelierite is silica glass, amorphous SiO2. One common way in which lechatelierite forms naturally is by very high temperature melting of quartz sand during a lightning strike. The result is an irregular, branching, often hollow tube of silica glass called a fulgurite.
Additional recommended knowledge
Lechatelierite also forms as the result of high pressure shock metamorphism during meteorite impact cratering and is a common component of a type of glassy ejecta called tektites. Most tektites are blebs of impure glassy material, but tektites from the Sahara Desert in Libya and Egypt, known as Libyan desert glass, are composed of almost pure silica, that is almost pure lechatelierite. High pressure experiments have shown that shock pressures of 85 GPa are needed to produce lechatelierite in quartz grains embedded in granite. 
Lechatelierite may also form artificially, a unique example being the trinitite produced by melting of quartz sand at the first nuclear bomb explosion at Trinity Flats, White Sands, New Mexico.
Lechatelierite is a mineraloid as it does not have a crystal structure. Although not a true mineral, it is often classified in the quartz mineral group.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Lechatelierite". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|