A video of a set of iron nails that appear to melt after being placed on a black stone is viral on social media. It is claimed that this stone was found in Afghanistan. Viral messages claim that though the stone is cool from the outside, it can melt anything made of steel and iron when placed in contact. Twitter user @kabirkhan488 shared the clip with the same claim. (Archive link)
*अफगानिस्तान के तोरा बोरा पहाड में एक ऐसा पत्थर दरियाफत हुआ है जो ऊपर से ठंडा है लेकिन अगर स्टील या लोहा उस पर रखे तो पिघलता है* pic.twitter.com/JUQaRbrS8N
— A F KHAN (@kabirkhan488) December 1, 2021
A few Facebook users also amplified the visuals and the accompanying claim.
*#अफगानिस्तान के तोरा बोरा पहाड में एक ऐसा #पत्थर दरियाफत हुआ है #जो ऊपर से ठंडा है #लेकिन अगर स्टील या लोहा उस पर रखे तो #पिघलता है*
Posted by Faiyaz Sayyed on Tuesday, November 30, 2021
It was also circulated by Pakistani users with this claim in Urdu. (Link 1, Link 2, Link 3)
افغانستان کے صوبہ وردک میں ایک ایسا پتھر دریافت ہوا ھے جو اوپر سے ٹھنڈا ھے لیکن اگر اسٹیل یا لوہا اوپر رکھے تو پگھلاتا ھے۔۔ یہ کون سا پتھر ہو سکتا ہے pic.twitter.com/4sXl6w9LRL
— Sajid Mehmood (@Sajid_Mehmood_5) November 28, 2021
Not a magical stone
We performed a reverse image search using stills from the video, which led us to an article on a website called masralyoum.net. It quotes M. Majid Abu Zahra, founder of the Jeddah Astronomy Society, as saying that the nails shown in the footage are made up of a metal called gallium. Its low melting point of around 29ºC explains why it easily melts when brought into contact with the stone. The article also contains a link to a Facebook post dated November 27, 2021, which mentions that even sunlight easily melts galium when placed on a warm surface.
With a keyword search, Alt News came across several such reports that verified other similar videos. For instance, an ABC10 news report from April 12, 2018. The video report mentions that the nail placed on the stone is made out of gallium, which has a melting point of 85.6°F. At this temperature, gallium can melt quite easily.
It is worth noting that the average temperature of the human body is around 98.6°F, which means that this metal can melt simply from human touch. However, it remains solid at room temperature. It also has an extremely high (4044°F) boiling point. Apart from gallium, other metals like mercury, cesium, and rubidium are also in a liquid state at room temperature, which is why they are used in thermometers.
Snopes also debunked a similar video in a fact-check report dated April 10, 2018. It stated that when steel and iron are melted, they turn blue and orange respectively. However, the colour of this metal remains the same even after it has liquefied.
Another video explainer reported that the nails are made out of gallium.
This confirms that the stone seen in the video is not magical. But the phenomenon seen in the video can be attributed to the nails being made of gallium, a metal with a low melting point of 85.6°F.
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