Flying glass main content.

Flying glass

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Exhibition Text

Tektites are pieces of glass made when rock on Earth's surface is melted by the intense heat and pressure of a large meteorite impact.

The impact blasts the molten rock high into the air, and before it solidifies the air pressure warps and twists it into a bizarre variety of shapes. Dumbbells form when the rapid spinning of an elongated oval blob pulls the two ends apart. Teardrop shapes are simply halves of broken dumbbells. Small button-shaped tektites form when air friction pushes small, thin waves of the molten droplet backward to form a round overhanging skirt.

For Educators

Topic: Earth Science

Subtopic: Minerals and Resources

Keywords: Meteorites, Astrophysics, Tektite, Earth (Planet)--Surface, Rocks, Astrogeology, Meteorite craters, Glass

Audience: General