A new theory on the origins of desert glass


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Buying it.

Sandman and desert glass in one post!
I came to BoingBoing for the Cory posts on SF and tech.
I stayed for the Maggie science…and Caturday.


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A Poem.


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A comet? I’m not saying aliens, but aliens.

It’s aliens, man.

Time is relative, too, yo.


lightning can make glass of sand. Millenniums of lightning in the desert could creating these tailings. Just saying.

Sure, but millenia of lighting strikes won’t form the comet rubble found in and around the desert glass.

Bonus question: Is this stuff found ONLY in Lybia, or is it found in every desert, it’s just that this story happens to be about the Lybian desert. And if it is only Lybia then … why there and nowhere else?

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My thought exactly. They’re known as fulgurites. Normally they form ‘roots’ into the sand, but they could easily be exposed and abraded by the wind and look like this: http://webecoist.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Fulgurites_4.jpg http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwebecoist.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2009%2F11%2FFulgurites_4.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwebecoist.momtastic.com%2F2009%2F11%2F03%2Ffulgurites-high-glass-digs-where-lightning-goes-to-die%2F&h=439&w=468&sz=66&tbnid=0cXYi3-LUPknPM%3A&tbnh=90&tbnw=96&zoom=1&usg=__3H9-qtmXoHLhil8cvWPFlfB_tb4%3D&docid=kGN0u0yh3sp3sM&sa=X&ei=VxKdUvwtiOTbBY-PgOAD&ved=0CEIQ9QEwAQ

Where did you think Sodom was? New Hampshire?


I vote for comets, because that’s more awesome. That’s how science works, right?

This also gave me a sudden flashback of an AD&D module I played as a kid, set in an Egypt-like desert locale. There was a vast sea of glass formed from once molten sand, traversed by sailing ships built on diamond runners. It must have been this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_of_Desolation


And I just re-read Lucifer’s Hammer for the the 1st time in 20 years. Didn’t even know about ISON when I started. Comet convergence…

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There is a lot of glass on the lunar surface which formed in impacts.

“Don’t anyone walk in the desert with bare feet!”

I have on good authority that it is from broken alien beer bottles.


Ahhhh, Lightning.

An interesting piece for glass sculpture IMO is having ceramic moulds of sand with electrical conductive antenna magnetically charges positive extending to draw a lightning strike. Then. Wait for the strike and see what you got afterwards. Varying grains of sand in the mix notwithstanding.

Off the layman’s cuff. Ionic polarity created by shifting sand and prevailing wind could create areas of higher positive polarity. Over time (eons) of dry or wet seasons it is not umpossible glass particles will accumulate in the desert by natural action.

Proverb 3 20 “depths are broken up and clouds bring down the dew.” to paraphrase.

Of course , its possibly aliens scorched the sand with their 1950’s styled landing rockets.

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