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No. 40: Jul-Aug 1985

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Libyan desert glass may not be the product of impacts.

The mysterious Libyan Desert Glass (LDG) is almost pure silica. It occurs in pieces weighing up to 16 pounds in the Sand Sea of the Libyan desert, in an area roughly 130 by 53 kilometers. Most scientists have attributed it to meteorite impact.

The results of a thermal, microstructural, and chemical analysis of LDG suggest that it is more likely derived from a low-temperature chemical process rather than meteorite impact on sand.

(McPherson, D., et al; "Was Libyan Desert Glass (LDG) Formed by a Low Temperature Chemical Process?" Eos, 66:296, 1985.)

Comment. This short abstract in Eos is frustrating. What sort of natural chemical process could leave pieces of glass strewn over such a huge area? And what about the Darwin Glass in Australia?

Reference. Various natural glasses are discussed in ESM2 in the Catalog: Neglected Geological Anomalies. For more information on this book, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #40, JUL-AUG 1985. 1985-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987