Libyan desert glass

Libyan Desert glass or Great Sand Sea glass is an impactite, made mostly of lechatelierite,[1] found in areas in the eastern Sahara, in the deserts of eastern Libya and western Egypt. Fragments of desert glass can be found over areas of tens of square kilometers.

Libyan desert glass

Geologic originEdit

Distribution of Silica-glass in the Libyan Desert. 1934 map.

The origin of desert glass is uncertain. Meteoritic origins have long been considered possible, and recent research links the glass to impact features, such as zircon-breakdown, vaporized quartz and meteoritic metals, and to an impact crater.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] Some geologists[9] associate the glass with radiative melting from meteoric large aerial bursts, making it analogous to trinitite created from sand exposed to the thermal radiation of a nuclear explosion. Libyan Desert glass has been dated as having formed about 29 million years ago.[10] Like obsidian, it was knapped[citation needed] and used to make tools during the Pleistocene.[11]

See alsoEdit


Tutankhamun's pectoral features a scarab carved from desert glass.[12]
  1. ^ "Libyan Desert Glass". Retrieved 12 July 2020.
  2. ^ Jan Kramers; David Block; Marco Andreoli (2013). "First ever evidence of a comet striking Earth". Wits University. Archived from the original on 2013-10-10.
  3. ^ Kramers, J.D 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 382, 21-31 doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2013.09.003
  4. ^ B. Kleinmann (1968): The breakdown of zircon observed in the Libyan desert glass as evidence of its impact origin. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 5, 497-501. doi:10.1016/S0012-821X(68)80085-8
  5. ^ Weeks, R. (1984): Libyan Desert glass: A review. Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, 67, 593-619. doi:10.1016/0022-3093(84)90177-7
  6. ^ Seebaugh, W. R. & Strauss, A. M. (1984): Libyan Desert Glass: Remnants of an Impact Melt Sheet. LUNAR AND PLANETARY SCIENCE XV, 744-745. [Abstract.] Bibcode:1984LPI....15..744S
  7. ^ Barbara Kleinmann, Peter Horn and Falko Langenhorst (2001): Evidence for shock metamorphism in sandstones from the Libyan Desert Glass strewn field. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 36, 1277-1282 doi:10.1111/j.1945-5100.2001.tb01960.x
  8. ^ Giovanni Pratesi, Cecilia Viti, Curzio Cipriani and Marcello Mellini (2002): Silicate-silicate liquid immiscibility and graphite ribbons in Libyan desert glass. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 66, 903-911.doi:10.1016/S0016-7037(01)00820-1
  9. ^ Greshake, Ansgar; Koeberl, Christian; Fritz, Jörg; Reimold, W. Uwe (2010). "Brownish inclusions and dark streaks in Libyan Desert Glass: Evidence for high-temperature melting of the target rock". Meteoritics & Planetary Science. 45 (6): 973–989. doi:10.1111/j.1945-5100.2010.01283.x.
  10. ^ Cavosie, Aaron J.; Koeberl, Christian (1 July 2019). "Overestimation of threat from 100 Mt–class airbursts? High-pressure evidence from zircon in Libyan Desert Glass". Geology. 47 (7): 609–612. Bibcode:2019Geo....47..609C. doi:10.1130/G45974.1.
  11. ^ "Desert Glass: An Enigma". Saudi Aramco World.
  12. ^ Tut's gem hints at space impact, BBC News, July 19, 2006.


  • V. de Michele (ed.): Proceedings of the Silica '96 Meeting on Libyan Desert Glass and related desert events, Bologna, 1997 Contents
  • P.A. Clayton / L.J. Spencer: Silica Glass from the Libyan Desert, Vortrag vom 09.11.1933 online

External linksEdit