Libyan Desert Glass


Libyan Desert Glass 1.5gm

Size, 1.8cm x 1cm x 1cm

Weight, 1.5gm. Ref No. 3241



Libyan Desert Glass 1.5gm

This piece of Libyan Desert Glass weighs 1.5gm and measures 1.8cm across at the widest point. The colour of this small piece are a typical yellow with a hint of green, the surface is opaque from weathering over millions of years. Libyan Desert Glass is a mysterious tektite that is approximately 29 million years old. It is made up of almost pure silica which requires an incredibly high temperature to form, over 1600C. This temperature is in excess of any other igneous rocks on planet earth. It is found in the Libyan Sahara Desert in an area that stretches over into western Egypt. There are a number of various theories regarding the origins of this strange material. Meteoric origins of the glass are one of the principle theories, with scientists linking it to a nearby  impact crater. Other possibilities also include melting caused the airburst of an asteroid that burnt up high above the atmosphere. Early humans discovered the Desert Glass and made tools by knapping it in the same way as flint or obsidian.

Tektites were first described thousands of years ago in 900BC in ancient China. There are a number of interesting theories regarding the formation of Tektites. These range from volcanic eruptions on the moon, lightening, and also forest fires. For a long time the theory was that they were a type of obsidian, which has a similar appearance. The ages of tektites can be anything from 100,000 years old to 35 million years old. The general theory though is that an impact led incredible temperatures to melt both stone and soil, throwing them high up into the atmosphere. The resulting ejecta then fell, at the same time rapidly cooling and covering a wide area.

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