Tutankhamun’s breastplate features a scarab carved from Libyan Desert Silica Glas.

J.Bodsworth/Wikipedia

Carter identified the gemstone at first as chalcedony, a common variety of the mineral quartz. In 1932 the British geographer Patrick Clayton was exploring the Great Sand Sea along the border of modern Egypt and Libya. Here he discovered some strange pieces of glass in the sand. The yellow-green material seemed to be identical to the gemstone found in Tutankhamen’s tomb. Two years later he published a short note, suggesting that the pieces of glass were the quartz-rich deposits of a completely dried up lake. In 1998, Italian mineralogist Vincenzo de Michele analyzed the optical properties of the gemstone in King Tut’s breastplate and confirmed that it was indeed a piece of Libyan Desert Silica Glass, as the material is nowadays called. Libyan Desert Glass consists of almost pure silicon-dioxide, like quartz, but its crystal structure is different. It also contains traces of unusual elements, like iron, nickel, chromium, cobalt and iridium. It is among the rarest minerals on Earth, as it is found only in the Great Sand Sea north of the Gilf Kebir Plateau, one of the most remote and desolate areas in the Libyan Desert.

Piece of Lybian Desert Glass.

H.Raab

The origin of the desert glass has long remained a mystery. Glass forms naturally when molten rock material cools so rapidly that atoms are unable to arrange themselves into a crystalline structure. Obsidian is a natural glass that forms when lava from a volcano rapidly cools and solidifies. However, no extinct volcano can be found near the site where the desert glass occurs. Tektites are natural glass formed when the debris of a meteorite impact is ejected high into Earth’s atmosphere, where the molten debris will rapidly cool and solidify into glass spherules. Tektites have been found across Asia, Australia and as far away as Antarctica. However, no impact crater associated with the desert glass is known in the Libyan Desert. In an alternative scenario proposed in 2013 a comet, composed mostly of ice, entering Earth’s atmosphere may have exploded mid-air above the desert. The generated heat burst, an estimated 2,000°C, would be sufficient to melt the upper layers of the sand dunes, forming the desert glass, but without leaving a crater behind.

A new study published in the journal Geology refutes this scenario, claiming that an airburst alone wouldn’t be sufficient to explain the formation of the desert glass. The researchers analyzed grains of the mineral zircon found in the desert glass, discovering that the supposed zircon grains are actually a very rare mineral called reidite. Reidite is chemically similar to zircon, however, displays a different, denser crystalline structure. Reidite forms only under very high pressure, es experienced during massive meteorite impacts. Reidite can’t form by the low pressure of an airburst. Airbursts, as the researchers argue, create shock waves in Earth’s atmosphere with pressures of some thousands of pascals. During a meteorite impact, the shock waves in the ground can reach some billions of pascals, millions of times more powerful than any airburst. However, it remains unclear where the impact crater associated with the Lybian Desert Glass is located, even if radiometric dating suggests that the impact happened around 28 to 26 million years ago.

It’s also unclear how the desert glass became part of Tutankhamen’s treasures. Archaeological evidence suggests that an ancient system of caravan routes existed around the Gilf Kebir Plateau, but it doesn’t seem that the routes were used to search or trade for the desert glass. It seems that the piece used for the scarab was discovered by chance or maybe an exotic gift. It remains the only known example where an Egyptian artist used this mysterious material.

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In 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter found the unblemished burial place of Tutankhamen, a small pharaoh who ruled over Egypt practically 3,300 years earlier. When Carter got in the burial place for the really very first time and asked if he might see anything, he notoriously reacted: ” Yes, terrific things.” Tutankhamen’s burial chambers were filled with statues made from ivory, products made from gold and valuable fashion jewelry. In a treasure chest, Carter found a big pectoral, a breastplate embellished with gold, silver, different valuable gems and an odd gems, that the pharao uses throughout his chest. The breastplate reveals the god Ra as a winged scarab, made from a yellow-green gems, bring the celestial bark with the Sun and the Moon into the sky.

Tutankhamun’s breastplate includes a scarab sculpted from Libyan Desert Silica Glas.

J.Bodsworth/ Wikipedia

Carter determined the gems in the beginning as chalcedony, a typical range of the mineral quartz In 1932 the British geographer Patrick Clayton was checking out the Excellent Sand Sea along the border of contemporary Egypt and Libya. Here he found some unusual pieces of glass in the sand. The yellow-green product appeared to be similar to the gems discovered in Tutankhamen’s burial place. 2 years later on he released a brief note, recommending that the pieces of glass were the quartz-rich deposits of a totally dried up lake. In 1998, Italian mineralogist Vincenzo de Michele evaluated the optical residential or commercial properties of the gems in King Tut’s breastplate and validated that it was certainly a piece of Libyan Desert Silica Glass, as the product is nowadays called. Libyan Desert Glass includes practically pure silicon-dioxide, like quartz, however its crystal structure is various. It likewise includes traces of uncommon aspects, like iron, nickel, chromium, cobalt and iridium. It is amongst the rarest minerals in the world, as it is discovered just in the Great Sand Sea north of the Gilf Kebir Plateau, among the most remote and desolate locations in the Libyan Desert.

Piece of

Lybian Desert Glass.

(***********
) H.Raab(************

)

(******* )

(* )(** )

The origin of the desert glass has actually long stayed a secret. Glass kinds naturally when molten rock product cools so quickly that atoms are not able to organize themselves into a crystalline structure. Obsidian is a natural glass that forms when lava from a volcano quickly cools and strengthens. Nevertheless, no extinct volcano can be discovered near the website where the desert glass takes place. Tektites are natural glass formed when the particles of a meteorite effect is ejected high into Earth’s environment, where the molten particles will quickly cool and strengthen into glass spherules. Tektites have actually been discovered throughout Asia, Australia and as far as Antarctica. Nevertheless, no effect crater connected with the desert glass is understood in the Libyan Desert. In an alternative circumstance proposed in 2013 a comet, made up mainly of ice, going into Earth’s environment might have blown up mid-air above the desert. The created heat burst, an approximated 2,000 ° C, would suffice to melt the upper layers of the dune, forming the desert glass, however without leaving a crater behind.

A brand-new research study released in the journal Geology refutes this circumstance, declaring that an airburst alone would not suffice to describe the development of the desert glass. The scientists evaluated grains of the mineral zircon discovered in the desert glass, finding that the expected zircon grains are in fact an extremely unusual mineral called reidite. Reidite is chemically comparable to zircon, nevertheless, shows a various, denser crystalline structure. Reidite kinds just under really high pressure, es experienced throughout enormous meteorite effects. Reidite can’t form by the low pressure of an airburst. Airbursts, as the scientists argue, develop shock waves in Earth’s environment with pressures of some countless pascals. Throughout a meteorite effect, the shock waves in the ground can reach some billions of pascals, countless times more effective than any airburst. Nevertheless, it stays uncertain where the effect crater connected with the Lybian Desert Glass lies, even if radiometric dating recommends that the effect occurred around 28 to 26 million years earlier.

It’s likewise uncertain how the desert glass entered into Tutankhamen’s treasures. Historical proof recommends that an ancient system of caravan paths existed around the Gilf Kebir Plateau, however it does not appear that the paths were utilized to browse or trade for the desert glass. It appears that the piece utilized for the scarab was found by possibility or possibly an unique present. It stays the just recognized example where an Egyptian artist utilized this strange product.

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441749675184″ >

In 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter found the unblemished burial place of Tutankhamen, a small pharaoh who ruled over Egypt practically 3, 300 years earlier. When Carter got in the burial place for the really very first time and asked if he might see anything, he notoriously reacted: “Yes, terrific things.” Tutankhamen’s burial chambers were filled with statues made from ivory, products made from gold and valuable fashion jewelry. In a treasure chest, Carter found a big pectoral, a breastplate embellished with gold, silver, different valuable gems and an odd gems, that the pharao uses throughout his chest. The breastplate reveals the god Ra as a winged scarab, made from a yellow-green gems, bring the celestial bark with the Sun and the Moon into the sky.

.

.

Tutankhamun’s breastplate includes a scarab sculpted from Libyan Desert Silica Glas.

J.Bodsworth/ Wikipedia

.

.

Carter determined the gems in the beginning as chalcedony, a typical range of the mineral quartz In 1932 the British geographer Patrick Clayton was checking out the Excellent Sand Sea along the border of contemporary Egypt and Libya. Here he found some unusual pieces of glass in the sand. The yellow-green product appeared to be similar to the gems discovered in Tutankhamen’s burial place. 2 years later on he released a brief note, recommending that the pieces of glass were the quartz-rich deposits of a totally dried up lake. In 1998, Italian mineralogist Vincenzo de Michele evaluated the optical residential or commercial properties of the gems in King Tut’s breastplate and validated that it was certainly a piece of Libyan Desert Silica Glass, as the product is nowadays called. Libyan Desert Glass includes practically pure silicon-dioxide, like quartz, however its crystal structure is various. It likewise includes traces of uncommon aspects, like iron, nickel, chromium, cobalt and iridium. It is amongst the rarest minerals in the world, as it is discovered just in the Great Sand Sea north of the Gilf Kebir Plateau, among the most remote and desolate locations in the Libyan Desert.

.

.

Piece of Lybian Desert Glass.

H.Raab

.

.

The origin of the desert glass has actually long stayed a secret. Glass kinds naturally when molten rock product cools so quickly that atoms are not able to organize themselves into a crystalline structure. Obsidian is a natural glass that forms when lava from a volcano quickly cools and strengthens. Nevertheless, no extinct volcano can be discovered near the website where the desert glass takes place. Tektites are natural glass formed when the particles of a meteorite effect is ejected high into Earth’s environment, where the molten particles will quickly cool and strengthen into glass spherules. Tektites have actually been discovered throughout Asia, Australia and as far as Antarctica. Nevertheless, no effect crater connected with the desert glass is understood in the Libyan Desert. In an alternative circumstance proposed in 2013 a comet, made up mainly of ice, going into Earth’s environment might have blown up mid-air above the desert. The created heat burst, an approximated 2, 000 ° C, would suffice to melt the upper layers of the dune, forming the desert glass , however without leaving a crater behind.

A brand-new research study released in the journal Geology refutes this circumstance, declaring that an airburst alone would not suffice to describe the development of the desert glass. The scientists evaluated grains of the mineral zircon discovered in the desert glass, finding that the expected zircon grains are in fact an extremely unusual mineral called reidite. Reidite is chemically comparable to zircon, nevertheless, shows a various, denser crystalline structure. Reidite kinds just under really high pressure, es experienced throughout enormous meteorite effects. Reidite can’t form by the low pressure of an airburst. Airbursts, as the scientists argue, develop shock waves in Earth’s environment with pressures of some countless pascals. Throughout a meteorite effect, the shock waves in the ground can reach some billions of pascals, countless times more effective than any airburst. Nevertheless, it stays uncertain where the effect crater connected with the Lybian Desert Glass lies, even if radiometric dating recommends that the effect occurred around 28 to 26 million years earlier.

It’s likewise uncertain how the desert glass entered into Tutankhamen’s treasures. Historical proof recommends that an ancient system of caravan paths existed around the Gilf Kebir Plateau, however it does not appear that the paths were utilized to browse or trade for the desert glass. It appears that the piece utilized for the scarab was found by possibility or possibly an unique present. It stays the just recognized example where an Egyptian artist utilized this strange product.

.