Impactites include impact glasses, tektites, impact breccias, and shatter cones, and are terrestrial rocks that have been altered or created by the heat and pressure of a meteorite impact. Impactites are sometimes all that remains of ancient meteoritic events from which the meteorites themselves — and sometimes even the crater — have disappeared.
LIBYAN DESERT GLASS
Libyan Desert Glass (sometimes referred to as Egypt or Egyptian Desert Glass) is a rare and beautiful impact glass, found in only one remote location on Earth, near the Libyan/Egyptian border. It is associated with an ancient meteorite impact, which occurred somewhere in the North African deserts. Quality specimens are translucent, and also display pseudo regmaglypts, possibly caused by wind erosion, or by ablation when molten fragments were thrown into the air following impact. Perhaps the most enchanting of all meteorite-related collectibles, Libyan Desert Glass is now extremely difficult to obtain, as removing material from the site is prohibited by the Egyptian government.
These outstanding specimens came from a colleague who has close ties with Egypt. They were acquired years ago, before the ban on hunting was enacted by the Egyptian government. Please note the exceptional translucency and fine character of these pieces. High quality Libyan Desert Glass specimens are graded by their clarity, shape and color.
[Photo © BBC] The ancient pectoral pictured at left belonged to Tutankhamun, and the yellow scarab is carved from Libyan Desert Glass, giving this striking meteoritic material a unique link to Egypt and to humanity’s distant past.
Moldavites are luminous green glasses formed 14.5 million years ago by the impact of a giant meteorite that created the 15-mile wide Reis Crater in Germany. The moldavites were blasted some 200 to 400 kilometers, all the way to the modern-day Czech Republic. Mining has depleted the supply of this exquisite glass. While most impact specialists believe moldavites were created from melted terrestrial matter, they do display some characteristics associated with meteorites. Moldavites have a hardness rating of 5.5 and are often faceted for use in jewelry. When cut and polished, their deep green color is reminiscent of emeralds and peridot.
Pioneering meteorite hunter and scientist Harvey H. Nininger’s extraordinary life was recounted in his thrilling autobiography, Find a Falling Star — a must-read for all meteorite enthusiasts. He authored numerous other books, including Out of the Sky, Arizona’s Meteorite Crater, and Our Stone-Pelted Planet.
Dr. Nininger created the American Meteorite Laboratory, opened the worlds’s first independent meteorite museum on Route 66 near Meteor Crater, and was a founding member of the Meteoritical Society. He recovered thousands of meteorites and carried out groundbreaking work at important meteorite sites such as Brenham, Kansas; Canyon Diablo (Meteor Crater), Arizona; Toluca, Mexico; and many other locations across the United States and around the world.
During the 1950s, Dr. Nininger and his wife Addie, journeyed to Vietnam and worked with local landowners to assemble a remarkable collection of tektites. This expedition is well documented in his book Find a Falling Star. Each specimen was meticulously labeled, one at a time, by hand. The larger pieces received a hand painted number, while the smaller ones were cataloged using a small number written on tape, and then affixed to the specimen. Some of the specimens offered on this page are likely visible on the table in the photo from Find a Falling Star.
These specimens were received via institutional trade from one of the world’s foremost meteorite research collections. Each piece is accompanied by a custom, and hand signed, certificate of authenticity/specimen ID card. Some pieces are also accompanied by handwritten paper notes in Nininger’s own hand. This is an extraordinary opportunity to acquire a very affordable specimen with an original number from the research collection of one of the most important figures in the history of meteoritics.