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Cosmic natural glasses


Tektite Origin & Physical Properties

Tektites are a group of natural glasses which were formed from cosmic impacts. There are four distinctly different types of Tektites that can be grouped by their age, location and origin.  Each of these Tektites have been linked to impacts of large extraterrestrial bodies that formed craters, and then ejected the melted terrestrial material into the upper atmosphere, after which the newly formed glassy stones fell back to earth in their current chemical form.  Tektites are an amorphous glasses that quickly transitioned from a liquid to a solid state. Although they share some similarities with terrestrial volcanic glasses like obsidian, they have distinct differences which point to their cosmic origin. Tektites contain virtually no water, unlike volcanically formed glass. They often have splash-form and aerodynamic shapes which prove that they underwent a very fast transformation under intense heat. Some of these Tektites took on their initial shape directly after impact while other specimens underwent a second phase of ablation when they were remelted as they descended through denser atmosphere when returning to Earth after their initial ejection. Another interesting phenomena found in Tektites is large amount of lechatelierite inclusions. This is a mineraloid form of silica which forms naturally at incredibly high temperatures. The inclusions within Moldavite and Libyan Desert Glass are particularly interesting because of the transparency of these Tektites the easily identified lechatelierite inclusions are a key factor in identifying their authenticity.

The form of Tektites are divided into four different groups, independent of their occurrence. There are splash-form Tektites which took on their initial shape during their initial molten state after impact. These Tektites include sphere shapes, ellipsoids, teardrops and dumbbells. The next group is aerodynamic shaped Tektites which underwent two phases of melting. These Tektites took on their final shape when they were remelted during their decent back to Earth. The next grouping of Tektites are called Muon Long Tektites. These specimens were not fully melted during their formation and have layers of irregular structure with abundant inclusions including zircon, chromite, rutile, corundum and cristobalite. The final group of Tektites are called microtektites. They are smaller than 1 mm in diameter and exhibit the same form as their larger siblings, including spheres, dumbells, discs and teardrops. They frequently contain bubbles and lechatelierite inclusions.

The key division of Tektites is by their impact origin. North American tektites originated from the Chesapeake Bay crater and have an estimated age of ~ 34 million years. They two Tektites that formed from this impact are called Bediasites found in Texas which are black to dark brown, and Georgiaites found in Georgia which are green in color. The dark green Tektites found in Georgia, U.S.A. are exceedingly rare with less than 1000 pieces having been found! Apart from these two localities, a few pieces that originated from the same impact have been found in Martha’s Vineyard, Cuba and in the Caribbean Sea.

Australasian Tektites include Australites, Indochinites and Philippinites. They are dark brown too black in color. This is the youngest and largest strewnfield of Tektites. They can be found over a huge disconnected area spanning over 6 million square kilometers. Collectively, all the Tektites from the Australian strewnfield have an estimated age of 790,000 years. This group of Tektites is by far the most common and least valuable because of their relative abundance and lack of translucency. Until recently, the location of the crater from where the tektites originated had not been identified. The massive 300 km wide Wilkes crater in Antarctica is now being proposed by scientists as the origin of Australasian tektites. This cannot be proven conclusively because samples of the source material have not been taken since it lies beneath a massive sheet of ice!

Ivorites are a type of Tektite that can be found in a 70 km2 area along the Ivory coast. Their occurrence corresponds to the huge crater, which is now Bosumtwa Lake in Ghana. Ivorites are black and only a few thousand specimens have been discovered till today.

Tektite Healing & Metaphysical Properties

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