Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Remote Encounter of the Fourth Kind: King Tut's

Egyptian Museum, Cairo, 1996 -
Italian mineralogist Vincenzo de Michele noted this unusual, yellowish-green gem featured in one of Tutankhamun's necklaces (pectorals). Testing disclosed that this jewel was glass older than the earliest Egyptian civilisation.

BBC NEWS 2006 -
Working with Egyptian geologist Aly Barakat, they traced its origins to unexplained chunks of glass found scattered in the sand in a remote region of the Sahara Desert. But the glass is itself a scientific enigma. How did it get to be there and who or what made it?
The BBC Horizon programme has reported an extraordinary new theory linking Tutankhamun's gem with a meteor.

Austrian astrochemist Christian Koeberl had established that the glass had been formed at a temperature so hot that there could be only one known cause: a meteorite impacting with Earth. And yet there were no signs of a suitable impact crater, even in satellite images.

Project Gutenberg Etext of Trinity [Atomic Test] Site -
Immediately after the test a Sherman M-4 tank, equipped with its own air supply, and lined with two inches of lead went out to explore the site. The lead lining added 12 tons to the tank's weight, but was necessary to protect its occupants from the radiation levels at groundzero. The tank's passengers found that the 100-foot steel tower had virtually disappeared, with only the metal and concrete stumps of itsfour legs remaining. Surrounding ground zero was a crater almost 2,400 feet across and about ten feet deep in places. Desert sand around the tower had been fused by the intense heat of the blast intoa jade colored glass. This atomic glass was given the name Atomsite,but the name was later changed to Trinitite. (my emphasis).

Wikipedia Trinity test -
Trinitite is composed primarily of silica melted by atomic blast. Usually light green in color, in rare cases it may be beige or red. It is mildly radioactive. Samples were gathered and sold as novelties until the early 1950s. Most of the material was finally bulldozed and buried by the Army. It is now illegal to take traces from the site. Samples obtained earlier can be found for sale on the internet.

The Trinity site bomb detonation created a layer of glass on the sand much smaller than the area of glass in the Egyptian desert. Whatever happened in Egypt must have been much more powerful than a small atomic bomb.


At 28 July, 2006 21:47, Blogger bothenook said...

if you want a little radioactivity around the house, shop flea markets and garage sales, and buy yourself some old school fiesta ware, in orange. the orange in the glaze is uranium. we use a couple of pieces to demonstrate how radioactivity shows up in unusual places. it tends to get the student's attention.

but a piece of trinitite, humm, that would be cool


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