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Basic information about

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BRIEF HISTORY, AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT MOLDAVITES

Written records show that Moldavites, those wonderful and unique members of the Tektite group, have been collected from several localities in Czechoslovakia, and a few sites in Austria, since the mid-Eighteenth Century. Moldavites were valued highly by the Czech. people, even during the early period of modern European history, and were frequently fashioned into jewelry because of their interesting natural shapes, great hardness, and unusual bottle-green color. Prof. Vladimir Bouska, in his book “Moldavites - The Czech Tektites”, states that “The first human being that was interested in Moldavites was a Cro-Magnon man from the aurignacian age, i.e., the Upper Paleolithic. Several potsherds (fragments) of green Moldavite glass were found together with the famous statue of Venus of Willendorf, which is about 29,000 years old, at Willendorf in Lower Austria.” Fragments of Moldavites were also found in many other sites, throughout central Europe, which yielded relics from prehistoric inhabitants.



AGE & ORIGIN OF MOLDAVITES

Moldavites have been shown to be about 14.7 million years old. The most popular explanation of their origin, according to Prof. Bouska, is that they were formed during the impact of a large meteorite, or comet nuclei, with the Earth’s surface. He explains the formation of tektites in simplified terms: “An enormous body with a volume of several cubic kilometers is racing towards the Earth. The uppermost layers of the Earth’s surface are melted by the highly compressed hot air cushion in front of the flying meteorite prior to its contact with the surface of the Earth. At the moment of impact, there is a tremendous explosion comparable with a multiple hydrogen bomb, the atmosphere is torn apart, and tektites are formed in the vacuum bubble. The fusion process and the throwing out of the tektite glass material occurs in a very short time period prior to the actual impact of the meteorite or comet core. The modeling of the formation of large impact craters has shown that the column of hot ascending atmosphere can carry the tektite melt into the upper parts of the atmosphere or even above the atmosphere.” A search was made, worldwide, for meteorite craters in the vicinity of tektite strewnfields. There is strong evidence to support this explanation of the origin of tektites due to the known age of tektites found in certain areas, and the relative proximity of the tektite strewnfields to large meteorite craters of the same age. A number of researchers have suggested that the surface material in the area around the Ries Crater, in Germany, is probably the source material for Moldavites -- the age of the crater is identical with the age of Moldavites.



MOLDAVITE SHAPES

The shapes of Moldavites has been studied extensively. Many Moldavites have been found with the same recognized shapes seen in tektites from other worldwide localities: spheres, discs, ellipsoids (ovals), lenses, cylinders, rods, dumb-bells, and several others. Moldavites have formed in these specific shapes from rotation of the viscous melt in the atmosphere. All of the common tektite shapes have been successfully reproduced in high-speed tunnels, called aerodynamic tunnels, that produce air flow at a speed of several kilometers per second. Various shapes can be obtained by the injection of a viscous melt.



SURFACE FEATURES

The natural surface features have been studied extensively. The surfaces of Moldavites are quite varied, shaped by unevenness in the form of hollows, cavities, grooves and bumps, and sometimes sharp points or holes of various size and depth. This is called the sculpture of Moldavites. The Moldavites available here are divided into two basic groups, according to their surface features:
1. Sculpturing by geological processes, i.e., Moldavites which have been transported and shaped by stream action from their original site, and eventually located in deposits of sedimentary material. The surface features have been modified by stream action, and further shaped by (rounded and/or smoothed by) acidic ground water.
2. The best explanation of the formation of the sculpturing seen on Moldavites from the sandy to silty clay pits is that this sculpturing is caused by chemical corrosion, over the period of many millions of years while the Moldavites were buried. The character of the sediments in these sand pits indicates a short transportation time, i.e., the surface features of the Moldavites were not exposed to the heavy weathering and shaping that occurred on specimens which were exposed to stream action. It is generally agreed that the sand pits near Besednice have produced some of the finest examples, exhibiting unusually sharp, highly attractive sculptured features. The specimens from this area, which are characterized by sharp projecting points protruding out in all directions from the Moldavite body, are unique in form, and exceptional in quality.

Click on each of the localities, below, to see examples of the bright bottle-green color Moldavite specimens:

Chlum nad Malsi, Southern Bohemia, Czechoslovakia - natural specimens with attractive, rounded shapes.

Besednice, near Locenice, Southern Bohemia, Czechoslovakia - exceptional faceted gems.

    


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