All of Southern California seems to be talking about the strange incident that befell a San Clemente resident last weekend. The 43-year-old woman sustained second- and third-degree burns when the seven beach rocks she had gathered at San Onofre State Beach inexplicably combusted in her pocket.
Yes, that's right -- rocks combusted in her pocket.
Now, obviously, these cannot just be any sort of rock. After they burned a hole in the woman's pocket, they continued to burn the wooden floor of her house and burned her husband's hands as he tried to help his wife. Clearly, these "rocks" were something strange and unusual.
But what? No one is sure right now, but what remains of the rocks are being tested by Orange County health officials. At the moment, it is believed the rocks contained phosphorous, a highly flammable substance and that the friction of the rocks rubbing against one another in the woman's pocket caused them to ignite.
It's possible that these rocks are some sort of strange-yet-natural substance, but given what we know so far, it is also possible that they are some sort of material that a person irresponsibly lost track of or tried to dispose of illegally by dumping on a deserted beach. If that were the case, this woman might be able to seek recompense for her injuries against whomever disposed of these "rocks" in such an unethical manner that an innocent person was able to find them and be hurt by them.
Source: The Los Angeles Times, "Beach rocks that burst into flames in O.C. woman's pocket tested," May 17, 2012