Australian researchers have solved a mystery that scientists have been puzzled about for more than 100 years. They have discovered that the so-called Libyan desert glass, which was discovered in the jewelry of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun, was formed by a meteorite impact about 29 million years ago.
The results of the study were published in the journal “Geology”. Archaeologists have been studying the origin of glass since 1922 when an amulet in the form of a scarab beetle and other pieces of jewelry made of this material was found in the tomb of Tutankhamun.
Dr. Aaron Cavosie of the Center for Space Sciences of the Curtin School of Earth and Planetary Sciences has researched tiny particles of the mineral zircon that were discovered in the yellow glass. The analysis has shown that these particles contain traces of the rare mineral reidite, which can only be produced on the Earth’s surface during a meteorite impact.
“This is an eternal topic of discussion, whether the glass was formed during a meteorite impact or during an air blast,” said Cavosie.
These two processes can lead to melting. “However, only meteorite impacts produce shock waves that form high-pressure minerals. Finding traces of reidite proves that the glass was formed as a result of a meteorite impact,” the scientist said.