spaceSpace and Physics

This Viral Video Appears To Show A "Magic" Rock Melting Solid Metal


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer

Screen grab from clipdang/Facebook

Video footage posted on Facebook appears to show a black stone causing a nail to melt. But is it real? Well, probably not.

The video was posted by a user called @clipdang, which seems to be some sort of viral video website from Thailand. In it, a nail is lowered by a gloved-hand onto a stone, and it then seems to “melt” right into it.


“Iron-eating stone is in Myanmar,” the clipdang page noted in a short video description. “Found by a karen soldier. Put the gun close to it, then the gun melted. It is a duty of the experts to find the truth.”

(Note: “Karen” here refers to separate groups of people that reside mostly in Karen State, found in southern Myanmar, with a population of more than 5 million.)

More than 9 million people have watched the video since it was posted on April 7. However, commenters were quick to point out that it was most likely fake. They said this was a common trick made possible using a gallium metal nail, which has a melting point of about 29.8°C (85.6°F).

“Fake stuff. The nail isn't iron but rather gallium metal,” said one. “Stone is set out in direct sun for a short time, being black it will absorb the heat, the mild heat temps of it easily cause the gallium to melt. That's why the person was wearing gloves to prevent their body heat from melting the gallium.”


This was backed up by a fact-checking post on Snopes, which said that the video was “highly dubious” for a number of reasons. One is that if the nail was made of steel or iron as the video description suggests, then it would glow bright red when in liquid form, not silver.

“In addition to the immutable laws of physical chemistry, claims that this rock is dissolving a typical nail are dubious, as well, because the video is showing a fairly obvious science parlor trick,” they said.

So it looks like it’s probably a nail made of gallium, which is actually quite easy to do. That’s kind of backed up by the person in the video wearing a glove. Why wear a glove if it’s a regular nail? Well, so the gallium doesn’t melt in your hand of course.

If the video has sparked a craving for melting nails but you can’t get your hands on gallium, fear not. A video posted a couple of years ago showed you can also achieve a similar effect with a nail made out of ice. People sure put a lot of effort into pranks these days, huh?


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