Libyan Desert Glass: Diamond-Bearing Pebble Provides Evidence of Comet Striking Earth
Libyan Desert Glass: Diamond-Bearing Pebble Provides Evidence of Comet Striking Earth. [click on image to enlarge view] A FULL DOCUMENTARY VIDEO BELOW ARTICLE IN LINK PROVIDED. A mysterious black pebble found by an Egyptian geologist at the Libyan Desert Glass strewnfield provides the first ever evidence of a comet entering Earth’s atmosphere and exploding.
Pictured in this image shows Tutankhamun’s pectoral with a scarab carved from the Libyan Desert Glass.
The comet entered the atmosphere above Egypt about 28.5 million years ago. It exploded, heating up the sand beneath it to a temperature of about 2,000 degrees Celsius, and resulting in the formation of a huge amount of yellow silica glass, called the Libyan Desert Glass.
A magnificent specimen of the Libyan Desert Glass, polished by ancient jewelers, is found in Tutankhamun’s brooch with its striking yellow-brown scarab.
Prof Jan Kramers from the University of Johannesburg, a lead author of the paper published online in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, and his co-authors analyzed the diamond-bearing pebble ‘Hypatia,’ named in honor of the first well known female mathematician, astronomer and philosopher, Hypatia of Alexandria.
After conducting highly sophisticated chemical analyses on this pebble, the team came to the inescapable conclusion that it represented the very first known specimen of a comet nucleus, rather than simply an unusual type of meteorite.
“It’s a typical scientific euphoria when you eliminate all other options and come to the realization of what it must be,” Prof Kramers said.
“The impact of the explosion also produced microscopic diamonds. Diamonds are produced from carbon bearing material. Normally they form deep in the earth, where the pressure is high, but you can also generate very high pressure with shock. Part of the comet impacted and the shock of the impact produced the diamonds.”
Comet material is very elusive. Comet fragments have not been found on Earth before except as microscopic sized dust particles in the upper atmosphere and some carbon-rich dust in the Antarctic ice. Space agencies have spent billions to secure the smallest amounts of pristine comet matter.
“NASA and ESA spend billions of dollars collecting a few micrograms of comet material and bringing it back to Earth, and now we’ve got a radical new approach of studying this material, without spending billions of dollars collecting it,” Prof Kramers said.
“Comets contain the very secrets to unlocking the formation of our Solar System and this discovery gives us an unprecedented opportunity to study comet material first hand,” said co-author Prof David Block of Wits University.
Bibliographic information: Jan D. Kramers et al. 2013. Unique chemistry of a diamond-bearing pebble from the Libyan Desert Glass strewnfield, SW Egypt: Evidence for a shocked comet fragment. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 382, pp. 21–31; doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2013.09.003 - http://www.sci-news.com/space/science-libyan-desert-glass-diamond-bearin...
================================================================================= Here's a 50 MINUTE DOCUMENTARY VIDEO explaining all about this mystery above called -----> " Tutankhamun's Fireball." The ancient Egyptians knew of this extraordinary place in Sahara desert, but for thousands of years it remained unexplained. Now a group of scientists plan to finally solve this mystery. It will take them on a journey from the depths of the desert to the Cairo Museum and the test site of the world's first atomic bomb. And what they reveal may pose an unsuspected threat to us all.
Heading for the great sand-sea of the Egyptian Sahara Desert a team of scientists is on a mission. Their aim is to discover why tons of most unusual glass is lying in the middle of the desert. It's a scientific mystery because it's unique, we don't know exactly the process that caused the creation of the glass, but we know it's a natural phenomenon, and therefore requires a natural explanation. May be a very unusual event but it's certainly not a mystery that can't be solved. Scientists have been interested in this desert glass for a very long time because it is very different from any other natural glass that we know. It's just such a mysterious glass.
Aly Barakat is Egypt's desert glass expert and has travelled to the area several times. Barakat's interest dates back to 1998 and a remarkable discovery he was involved in. It took place in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Hidden away in a dark corner of the Tutankhamun exhibition was a necklace made of different color gems. At its center was an intriguing yellow-green carved scarab. It was said to be chalcedony - a semi-precious stone. But mineralogists were not so sure. Surrounded by armed guards and officials, Barakat and his colleague Vincenzo de Michele were allowed to examine and test the jewel. And the tests revealed that the scarab was not a semi-precious stone. In fact it was made of glass. But it was not a glass like any other produced by the ancient Egyptians.
Barakat had an idea where the glass came from. He knew of a 10th century Arabic book with a map inside which showed the location of a large mineral deposit in the Egyptian Sahara desert. The book describes a mineral called peridot. Peridot is a greenish-yellow gem, but Barakat had never heard of peridot being found in this part in the desert.
Barakat guessed that the Arabs had discovered the source of the glass in Tutankhamun's necklace. What's more he thought he had seen some pieces of the same glass. In the geology museum where he worked there were samples of glass brought back from this part of Sahara by an English explorer. In 1932, Patrick Clayton reported that far-out in the desert he had discovered chunks of glass scattered over thousands of square kilometres of desert. He had no idea how it had got there but he brought back some samples. Since the discovery of the Tutankhamun's jewel several scientific teams have traveled into the Sahara to try to find answers to explain the origin of this unusual glass. Barakat and his team are the latest to make the journey out to the glass area.
Watch the full documentary now - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcZWNmZl5y0 [a NEW VIDEO LINK]Filed under: Science
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