In the classic animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the diminutive dwarfs work in a mine filled with glowing gemstones. In real life, you’re unlikely to find cut and polished stones sticking out of rock walls in a mine. And if you come across anything glowing red or orange, you’re more likely to have approached an underground fire or some kind of volcanic event than anything you want to reach out and touch.
That’s why this video of a rock hound coming across some glowing minerals has been so popular online. What are these strange rocks. Are they really on fire? And is it actually safe for a person to touch them?
Despite their appearance in this video, we’re not actually looking at a person lifting up pieces of hot lava. Rather, what they are handling are chunks of a fluorescent sodalite rock, probably the “Yooperlite” variety often found near Lake Superior, or Hackmanite, which was named after its discoverer, a Finnish geologist Victor Axel Hackman.
The mineral glows under a UV light, which is what the person is holding in their hands, and lights up with an appealing inner fire. There’s no flame, however, nor any dangerous radiation.
If you’re interested in finding your own Yooperlites, all you need is a UV flashlight and a bit of patience. They are found often in places of glacial activity, so the shores of rocky lakes all across the northeastern United States.