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Rare, ‘rule-breaking’ quasicrystal found in chunk of ‘fossilized’ lightning


A tube of “fossilized lightning” from Nebraska’s Sandhills holds a rare type of quasicrystal that had previously only been found in meteorites and at atomic bomb test sites. 

Quasicrystals are materials that break the traditional rules of crystallography. Before they were first reported in 1984, scientists thought materials could either be crystalline — with symmetrical, repeating patterns — or amorphous, meaning randomly arranged and disordered. In addition, scientists believed crystals could only be symmetrical a limited number of times when rotated around an axis — two, three, four or six times. 



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