I’m pretty sure a lot of people have seen this image. It’s been tagged on Reddit simply as “What happens when lightning strikes sand”. I know that when I first saw it, I immediately thought it was fake. So did many other people.
Over at Scientific American, they have a great article explaining why this image is nothing more than a stick with some wet sand on it, and what really happens when lightning strikes sand.
You do get some cool structures, composed of fulgurite, which is basically petrified lightning. However, these are formed underground, and are only exposed by erosion of the above sand.
The next time you see an image that looks too good to be true, it probably is. Onwards!