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Source: Russia Federal Space

# Moscow Planetarium # Astronomy # Tektites 06/13/2021 08:15

Tektite (Libyan glass). Dimensions 6x5x4 cm, weight 100 g, Libyan Desert. Meteorite collection of the Moscow Planetarium, No. 70. Tektite (Indooshinite). Diameter 6 cm, weight 140 g, China. Meteorite collection of the Moscow Planetarium, No. 90. Tektite (Moldavit). Size 5x3x1 cm, weight 19 g, Czech Republic. Meteorite collection of the Moscow Planetarium, no. 77.

These unusual natural formations were first discovered in the fields of Europe in the late 18th century. Consisting almost entirely of natural glass, they continue to attract the attention of researchers to this day. These are tektites – small solid bodies with characteristic relief forms: spheroidal, dumbbell-shaped, drop-shaped. Color – from black to green and yellowish-olive. In chemical composition, they are close to obsidians, with a SiO2 content of 70-75%, but do not contain inclusions of microcrystals, there are almost no gas bubbles and very little water. In some cases, there is an increased content of Cr, Ni, Co, Mg. Sample weights range from the first grams to several kilograms. The largest tektite weighing 3.2 kg was found in Laos. The term tektite (from Greek – molten) was introduced into scientific circulation by the Austrian geologist Eduard Suess at the beginning of the 20th century. He was one of the first to suggest their extraterrestrial origin. Tektites are named according to the geographical position of the finds, where they form accumulations in the sediments, without being genetically related to them: Moldavites – Czech Republic, Germany, according to the German name of the Vltava River (German Moldau); Libyan glass – Libya; Australians – Australia; Indo-Shinites – Indochina; Malayazites – Malaysia, etc. The question of the origin of tektites is still open, since no one has observed their fall to the Earth as meteorites fall. Yes, and traces of their fall – craters were also not observed in the immediate vicinity of the finds. So, in the Libyan desert, where the so-called. “Libyan glass”, there is not the slightest trace of any meteorite crater. Therefore, the discussion about the origin of tektites has been going on for almost 200 years. Currently, most scientists admit the Earth’s impact hypothesis, according to which tektites are high-temperature glasses formed when meteorites or asteroids hit the ground. Some scientists believe that tektites came to Earth from the Moon. According to another group of researchers, the most promising hypothesis for the origin of tektites is their comet delivery to Earth. Whether this is so is a topic for further research.

Source: Moscow Planetarium


EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation from Russian Language to English.

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