Rare, ‘rule-breaking’ quasicrystal found in ‘fossil’ lightning piece

A tube of “fossil lightning” from the Sandhills of Nebraska contains a rare type of quasicrystal previously found only on meteorites and atomic bomb test sites.

Quasicrystals are materials that break the conventional rules of crystallography. Before it was first reported in 1984, scientists thought the material could be either crystalline – with symmetric, repeating patterns – or amorphous, meaning randomly arranged and disordered. Furthermore, scientists believed that crystals could only be symmetric in a limited number of ways when rotated around an axis two, three, four, or six times.

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