Name: Moldavite
Location: Czechoslovakia

Long ago, in the dim reaches of the ancient past, scientists say about 14.8 million years ago, it happened. It took place in what is now Czechoslovakia within a one hundred mile area around the Vltava River, which was once called the Moldau, and from which Moldavite gets its name.

This area was visited by a rain of fire that was to mark the coming of Moldavite to the earth. It is difficult to say how long this "meteor shower" lasted. However, we do suspect that it came in small bits of molten material high in silica and alumina, which cooled rapidly upon impact. There had been such showers on other parts of the earth, and would be again.

One theory suggests that when these tektites (that is the scientific name given to the stones) made impact with the earth they were molten, viscous globules full of tiny bubbles which they picked up while whizzing through the atmosphere. Upon impact, they cooled quickly, sometimes taking on patterns of the material on which they landed. Their surfaces shriveled into prune-like crevices and pits. It is easy to speculate that some landed on trees and received bark-like imprints as they cooled. Others hit rocks leaving sharp, angular edges. Still others fell into water, snapping and sizzling as they splattered into fine thin fragments, known today as angle chimes ... the melodic results of merging earthly water with heavenly fire.

It is generally agreed that Moldavite is either extraterrestrial, meteoric material of unknown origin, or the resulting "splash" from meteoric impact. One NASA scientist, John O'Keefe, who has spent much of his life studying tektites, believes he has evidence that Moldavite is the by-product of a volcano on the moon. However, the most dramatic theory is that Moldavite was produced as a result of the explosion of an earth-like planet in the asteroid belt.

Each of these theories presents scientific problems that have yet to be explained. The inability of science to resolve the issues with one conclusive explanation of the true origins of Moldavite causes it to remain one of the great mysteries of this marvelous planet.


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