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Glass found in the Egyptian desert was created by a meteorite impact around 29 million years ago, unravelling a riddle almost a century in the making.
Researchers believe that the origin of the so-called Libyan Desert Glass scattered across the Saharan desert in Egypt and Libya formed when an asteroid exploded in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Glass - Forms - Material - Cools - Molecules
Glass forms naturally when molten material cools so quickly that the molecules can't settle into an ordered structure, like a crystal.
The glass has been found in ancient jewellery, including a scarab carved from the material which features in pectoral jewellery buried beside Tutankhamun.
Studies - Fragments - Air - Burst - Asteroids
Previous studies have claimed that the tiny greenish-yellow fragments were caused by an atmospheric air burst when asteroids, or Near Earth Objects, explode and shoot particles through the Earth's atmosphere.
They say that the resulting airblast would have washed over the Egyptian desert, dumping vast amounts of heat into the sand.
Researchers - Curtin - University - Australia - Grains
The researchers, from Curtin University in Australia, examined the tiny grains of the mineral zircon in samples of the glass, which is found over several thousand square kilometres in western Egypt.
Zircons in the glass preserved evidence of the former presence of a high-pressure mineral named reidite,...
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