Solving the mystery of the origin of the rare yellow Libyan desert glass Solving the mystery of the origin of the rare yellow Libyan desert glass

Solving the mystery of the origin of the rare yellow Libyan desert glass

Solving the mystery of the origin of the rare yellow Libyan desert glass

Several years ago, scientists found a strange and rare type of yellow glass in the Great Sand Sea desert, which extends over an area of ​​72 thousand square kilometers and connects Egypt and Libya.
This yellow glass can be seen spread across the sandy landscape of southeastern Libya and southwestern parts of Egypt.

Libyan desert glass was first mentioned in a scientific paper in 1933. This glass is highly prized by mineral collectors for its beauty, rarity and mystery.

A necklace found in the tomb of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun contains a piece of this glass. This type can be found elsewhere in the world, such as moldavite from Reiss Crater in Europe and tektites (a type of black or gray glassy object) from Ivory Coast, but these specimens are not as rich in silica as Libyan desert glass.

The origin of glass has been a topic of debate among scholars for nearly a century. Some have suggested that it may be from volcanoes on the moon. Others have suggested that it is the product of lightning strikes, what are known as “lightning rods” (glass formed from the merging of sand and soil where lightning strikes them). Other theories suggest that it is the result of sedimentary or hydrothermal processes, or that it was caused by a massive meteorite exploding in the air, or that it came from a nearby meteorite crater.

Now, “thanks to advanced microscopy technology, we think we have the answer,” says Elizaveta Kovaleva, a lecturer in the Department of Geosciences at the University of the Western Cape, Belleville, South Africa. “In collaboration with colleagues from universities and scientific centers in Germany, Egypt and Morocco, I have identified desert glass.” "Libya states that it arose from a meteorite colliding with the Earth's surface."

Space collisions are a fundamental process in the solar system, as planets and their natural moons are created through the accretion resulting from the collision of asteroids and planetesimals with each other (the planetesimal theory assumes that planets are formed from cosmic dust grains that stick together and begin to form larger and larger bodies). These effects helped our planet accumulate as well.

In our recent study, a scientist obtained two pieces of glass from a local resident who collected them from the Al-Jawf region in southeastern Libya.

The team studied the samples using advanced transmission electron microscopy (TEM) technology, which allows viewing tiny particles of the material, 20,000 times smaller than the thickness of a sheet of paper.

Using this super-magnification technique, scientists found tiny minerals in this glass: different types of zirconium oxide (ZrO₂).

Minerals are composed of chemical elements, whose atoms form a regular three-dimensional packing (layers upon layers to ensure the most efficient storage). Likewise, atoms combine to form a crystal lattice unique to each mineral.

Minerals that have the same chemical composition but different atomic structures (different ways of packing the atom into the crystal lattice) are called polymorphs.

One of the many forms of ZrO₂ that scientists have observed in Libyan desert glass is called cubic zirconia, the type that is seen in some jewelry as an artificial substitute for diamonds.

This metal can only form at a high temperature between 2250°C and 2700°C.

There is another polymorphism of ZrO₂ that they observed, which is very rare and is called ortho-II or OII. It is formed at very high pressure, about 130 thousand atmospheres (a global unit for measuring pressure).

“These pressure and temperature conditions provided us with evidence of the origin of the meteorite glass impact,” Kovaleva said. “This is because such conditions can only be obtained in the Earth’s crust by a meteorite collision or the explosion of an atomic bomb.”

She continued: “If our findings are correct (and we believe they are), the parent crater, where the meteorite hit the Earth’s surface, should be nearby.”

The closest known meteorite craters, called GP and Oasis, are 2 km and 18 km in diameter respectively, and are very far from where the glass the scientists tested was found. They are too distant and too small to be considered the mother craters for such massive amounts of impact glass, all concentrated in one place.

Therefore, Kovaleva explains, “While we have solved part of the puzzle, other questions remain. Where is the mother crater? How big is it? Where is it located? Could it have been eroded, distorted, or covered by sand?”

Further investigations will be needed, most likely in the form of remote sensing studies coupled with geophysics.

A "surprising scenario" for human life by the year 2100!

Experts have revealed a strange scenario for human life by the year 2100. It may seem like the plot of a science fiction movie, but it may actually be our reality.
They said that humans will live in underground cities and rely on artificial intelligence guides to make decisions.

“In 2100, our lives will not only be intertwined with technology, but connected, shaped and guided by it,” said Ed Johnson, CEO and co-founder of PushFar.

Here are five things that will happen by the middle of this century: 

“Digital humans” will live among us

Humanoid robots and “digital friends” will live alongside humans, with robots undertaking tasks including surgery.

“Technology will evolve to fully support digital humans without the need for instruction, and teachers or supporters and companions (digital friends) will be part of everyday life,” said Rob Sims, co-founder and CEO of Sum Vivas.

Humanoid robots will be part of everyday life; You'll take on various tasks, ranging from mundane tasks - such as taking out the trash or doing laundry - to complex tasks, such as higher-level education or complex brain surgery.

Society will need to evolve in line with technological advances to ensure that we do not become an isolated and self-confronting race.

AI “mentors” decide what everyone does

In the future, AI “mentors” will accompany each person, making decisions on their behalf, including what job to do, said Ed Johnson, CEO and co-founder of PushFar.

“The days of agonizing over choices big and small are over,” Johnson continued.

He added: “AI Guidance in 2100 harnesses the power of quantum computing, processing infinite possibilities in the blink of an eye. They provide guidance based on the vast universe of data that defines our interconnected world.”

Moving cities underground

By 2100, space above ground will be at an all-time high, so much of the city's infrastructure will move underground, with tunnels dug by robots.

Robotics company HyperTunnel, a leader in new tunnel-making technologies, said the robots will dig tunnels, where augmented reality is used to map living spaces and new underground buildings.

“Millions of robots no more than a mile long will assemble in the same way nature has evolved over billions of years,” said Steve Jordan of HyperTunnel.

Now, we have the technology to change the planet through new utility, transportation, and energy infrastructure, creating the megacities of the future.

Plans for underground buildings are already being made, with Mexico City's Earth Pyramid, a 65-storey inverted pyramid inspired by Aztec pyramids, being planned to help mitigate concerns about space in the city centre.

Cameras are putting watermarks on videos due to the prevalence of deepfakes

Governments will force camera makers to include digital watermarks so people can "trust" videos, as fakes have become widespread and impossible to distinguish from the real thing.

“As deepfake technology accelerates, people will no longer be able to trust the authenticity of a digital record, whether it is an image, video or audio recording,” said Tim Callan, chief experience officer at security firm Sectigo.

Given our current reliance on digital records within our legal, security and digital systems, people will no longer be able to trust what they see.

That's why, by 2100, all forms of recording devices will have a built-in encrypted timestamp, acting as a watermark at the time of capture. These encrypted watermarks will deeply separate original images from fake images to restore digital trust in photos, videos and recordings.

Children are turning to virtual schools

Nimesh Patel, CEO and founder of Capone Education, said the AI ​​“guides” will take care of children’s education, conducting lessons in virtual reality where children travel through time. This is education in 2100: immersive, expansive, and multisensory.
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