Dating the libyan desert silica glass
Even recent computer analysis of a satellite data cannot detect evidence of a crater. Libyan desert glass is transparent to translucent and often contains trails of small bubbles, wispy white deposits, and black swirls. Geological dating is never that accurate anyway, right? Could ancients living 28 million years ago have detonated atomic bombs? Indeed, two geologists recently spotted a sample of Libyan desert glass among the jewels of King Tutankhamen at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Although I am a die-hard skeptic, even I am not immune from indulging in a little paranormal nonsense.
Libyan desert glass is transparent to translucent and often contains trails of small bubbles, wispy white deposits, and black swirls. In general, glass forms whenever a molten material, such as lava or sand, cools very quickly. In his book Chariots of the Gods Von Daniken claims that Sodom and Gomorrah, the biblical cities of sin, were destroyed by ancient atomic bombs. Certainly, far more copies of a single one of their books have been sold than, say, all the editions of my igneous petrology textbook, which has some valuable scientific information about natural glasses. The biggest piece ever found weighed around 26 kg. During this brief visit, the scientists discovered the remains of a downed Egyptian aircraft and the bodies of nine men. Sandy deserts primary consist of small grains of quartz, which has the formula SiO2. Geological dating is never that accurate anyway, right? In these long narrow gaps are areas where the underlying bedrock is exposed. Even simpler than this, might it be possible that after 28 million years, it is a little difficult to detect evidence of a crater amidst giant, shifting sand dunes in a very remote part of Egypt? So, it would make sense that if a meteorite were to land in a desert, silica-rich glass would form. Truthfully, the origin of the Libyan desert glass is still somewhat of a mystery. Others are chunks of considerable size and weight. The glass had been carved into the shape of a scarab, a central jewel in a large breastplate. Tutankhamen Wadjet pendant, Cairo Museum, Egypt. Childress, of course, jumps to conclusions and claims that the lack of evidence of a meteorite crater implies that no meteorite existed. Although I am a die-hard skeptic, even I am not immune from indulging in a little paranormal nonsense. I can just imagine an episode with David Duchovny, his windswept hair looking particularly sexy, driving a jeep around the Egyptian desert and finding an ancient space ship crash-landed in the sand next to a glass sample. The ancient atomic theory provides a comprehensive answer that is also very fashionable. The fifty kilograms of the glass that Clayton carried back with him mystified and enchanted geologists for generations. The yellow-green scarab at the heart of Tutanhkamen Tutankhamon pendant is made of Libyan glass. The white deposit found in many of the samples is cristobalite, a high-pressure polymorph of quartz that is often found at sites of meteorite impacts. Many kilometers south of Cairo and west of the fertile Nile valley there are mysterious deposits of yellow-green glass among the sand dunes of the Libyan Desert. A similar soft impact might have occurred above the Libyan desert 28 million years ago. Earlier in the day in my mineralogy class, I had learned about tektites, high-silica glasses which are believed to form during meteorite impacts but which scientists do not fully understand. Even the Tunguska event is heralded by conspiracy theorists as an early test of atomic weapons. Clayton, who were sent to explore the Sand Sea and Gilf Kebir in and to investigate the earlier reports of as well as to find the legendary oasis of Zerzura.
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