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.

At the time of the impact, the Dakhla Oasis, located in the western part of modern-day Egypt, resembled the African savanna and was inhabited by early humans, according to archaeological evidence (see Egypt map.)

"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."

Crater Mystery

The origin of the glass had puzzled scientists since Kleindienst discovered it in 1987.

Some researchers had suggested the Stone Age glass may have been produced by burning vegetation or lightning strikes.

But a chemical analysis showed that the glass was created in temperatures so high that they could only have been the result of a meteorite impact.

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600450 Mysterious Egyptian Glass Formed by Meteorite Strike, Study Says
Date: 23 December 2006

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