Moldavite is a type of tektite, but they’re not the only ones out there. Many people may wonder what is a tektite and where to find tektite. Today, we want to show some love to some lesser-known tektites.
What Is A Tektite? Are Tektites Of Lunar Origin?
First off, what exactly is a tektite? A tektite isn’t exactly a space rock, but space does play a key role in their origin.
When they were first discovered, their origin was highly mysterious.
Some believe they were shrapnel from lunar impacts or maybe even lunar volcanoes. They’ve since been proven to be made of terrestrial material. They’re natural glass.
The word “tektite” comes from the Greek word “tectos,” meaning melted, which makes sense given how they come about.
How Are Tektites Formed?
They formed when a massive impact from a comet or meteor melted rocks and scattered them into the atmosphere, where they fell back to Earth, cooling down in mid-air, giving them an amorphous structure and often irregular shapes.
They can be only a couple tens of micrometers in size all the way up to three to four inches. They’re usually green, dark brown, or black.
Where Is Tektite Found?
They can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
Where To Find Tektites In South America?
In South America, the area they can be found in is called a strewn field, and they stretch for hundreds of kilometers.
Where Can I Find Tektites In North Carolina?
In North America, there are a few places you can find tektites.
In 2006, in a Florida quarry, tektites were discovered in what may seem like an unlikely place: clam fossils.
An undergraduate student at the time, Mike Myers discovered tiny glass beads and some clam fossils. In the field, researchers would pry open clam fossils and rinse out the sediment inside, sifting through it.
Mike was really curious about what he was finding because sand is small and lumpy, but these little things were spherical. He emailed some fellow researchers, but no one had any answers for him. He kept about 80 of those spheres in a box for about 10 years before studying them closer.
Based on their chemical and physical characteristics, he realized they were tektites.
But how did they get into clam shells? Well, no one was really there for it, but our best guess is that sediment is washed into the open shells of dead clams, including little tektite spheres.
Over time, accumulating sediment and debris press down on the shell, closing it and effectively protecting whatever’s inside. I don’t know if I’d rather find a pearl or a microtektite in my clam
Where Can I Find Tektites In Georgia?
Florida’s neighbors to the north, Georgia, hide some cool tektites as well.
Georgiaite is among the oldest varieties of tektite in the world, forming around 35 million years ago as a result of the Chesapeake Crater meteor.
You heard that right, the Chesapeake, 700 kilometers away. These tektites are pretty rare, though. 35 million years is a long time for dirt and sediment to build up and cover the tektites. Unless rock of the appropriate age is exposed, it’s gonna be hard to find Georgiaite. They’re usually translucent in olive green; the largest one ever found was 130 grams.
It has been discovered that Native Americans used these as scraping or cutting tools, such as obsidian. Recently, Georgiaite has been found in two counties in South Carolina. Perhaps it’s time to rename it to Carolinite.
Where Can I Find Tektites In Australia?
Lastly, let’s head to the other side of the world. In Australia, you can find Australite.
The indigenous Australians called it “ooga,” meaning “staring eyes.” Like the Native Americans, they used it for cutting and scraping. These stones were also held as sacred objects.
Europeans were first exposed to it in 1857 when it was presented to Charles Darwin. He hypothesized that it must have been of volcanic origin due to its similarity to obsidian. Obviously, he turned out to be incorrect, but it wasn’t a bad guess.
In Australia, it is typically found in the south below 25 degrees latitude. The Australasian strewn field, which is estimated to be about 790,000 years old, is among the youngest and the largest known.
It consists of over 20 craters and is estimated to cover 10 to 30 percent of the Earth’s surface. Due to its sheer size, some scientists believe that the main impact crater remains undiscovered and should be about 15 kilometers across.
It’s hard to know exactly what happened a million years ago, so their guesses are as good as ours. The coolest thing about Australite is that it was blasted so forcefully into the sky that it actually left Earth’s atmosphere. This meant that during their fall back to Earth, they had the unique opportunity for a second melt, resulting in some interesting and rare shapes. The most famous shape is the flanged button.
Those smart people at NASA needed their re-entry module to survive Earth’s atmosphere, so they modeled it after something that re-entered and survived, Australites.
Which tektites are your favorite? We’ve covered Moldavite before, so if you’re interested in it, click here: Moldavite Crystal? All You Need To Know. Hope this post about what is a tektite and where to find tektite may help you.
Is Libyan Desert Glass A Tektite?
Yes, libyan desert glass is a tektite.
Is Moldavite Tektite?
Yes, moldavite is a type of tektite. Motivate is pretty popular these days, and it’s easy to see why. The alluring green color, the amorphous shapes, and that explosive backstory make for a desirable gemstone.