Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Mysterious Egyptian Glass Formed by Meteorite Strike, Study Says
Strange specimens of natural glass found in the Egyptian desert are products of a meteorite slamming into Earth between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago, scientists have concluded.

The glass—known locally as Dakhla glass—represents the first clear evidence of a meteorite striking an area populated by humans.

. . .

"This meteorite event would have been catastrophic for all living things," said Maxine Kleindienst, an anthropologist at the University of Toronto in Canada.

"Even a relatively small impact would have exterminated all life for [several] miles."

Egypt apparently has a reasonable store of meteorites, too. One of the Geological Survey guys told me they got burned once from someone pretending to be a meteorite expert who wanted to borrow one of their specimens for analysis. He ended up skipping off with it and selling it. Apparently, meteorites are a high priced commodity. And one of the big reasons they've really tightened up export requirements for geological and archaeological samples.