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October 11 2013

'Black glass' could be first comet chunk found on Earth


A charred black pebble found in the Egyptian desert may be a piece of a comet that shattered near Earth about 28 million years ago. If so, the stone would offer a first close-up glimpse of rock that formed at the very edges of the solar system.

The 30-gram stone was discovered by Egyptian geologist Aly Barakat in December 1996 in a part of the Sahara desert near the border with Libya. The 6000-square-kilometre region is famous for being strewn with fragments of pale green glass, thought to have formed millions of years ago during a meteorite strike. Ancient Egyptians used a piece of this Libyan desert glass to make a scarab for King Tutankhamen's burial jewellery.

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