Unusual features caused by lightning impact in West Greenland

Peter W.U. Appel, Niels Abrahamsen, Thorkild M. Rasmussen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Two lightning impacts are described from an area near the Inland Ice in West Greenland. The first lightning blasted an outcrop of metacherts. It subsequently split into two branches, which traversed rock outcrops and boulders, leaving behind two white almost straight lines, 30 m and 14 m long, respectively, where all lichens and plants were burned away. On the white lines the upper few millimetres of the traversed boulders were melted to a glass which subsequently peeled off by thermal expansion to leave a rough surface. Magnetic investigation of an amphibolite boulder found on the white line showed that a strong electric current indeed traversed the boulder. A few years later a second lightning impacted on a mountaintop close to the first impact. The second lightning left a trail on the rock surface covered by a thin layer of glass. The glass displays spectacular colours ranging from metallic blue to red, yellow and green.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-741
Number of pages5
JournalGeological Magazine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006


  • Fulgurite
  • Greenland
  • Iron formation
  • Lightning
  • Magnetization

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 4: Mineral Resources


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