A moldavite is a mysterious rare and beautiful stone with extraterrestrial origins. Geologists are not sure if it came from the earth, the moon or even outer space.
A Moldavite was someone who comes from near the the Moldau River. This is the German name for the Vltava River. Czech classical composer Bedřich Smetana’s Vltava composed The Moldau, a Romantic piece describing the river’s course through Bohemia. Soviet astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh named a minor planet after the river.
A moldavite is also a mysterious rare and beautiful stone.
Moldavite is green and glassy looking.
It was first found near the Moldau river in Bohemia, now the Czech Republic as early as 1787.
In 1900, Geologist Franz Eduard Suess was studying moldavite.
Moldavite looked like volcanic glass, like obsidian, but there were differences. It had pittings and wrinkles that could not have been caused by water. Moldavite more closely resembled known meteorites.
Suess concluded that moldavite was actually glassy meteorites. But, unlike other meteorites, no one had seen them fall from the sky.
He proposed the word tektite to describe these unique stones. The Greek word tektos means “melted,” or “molten.”
Geologists have theorized that moldavites were formed millions of years ago by the impact of a giant meteorite in Nördlinger Ries crater. Molten stone was sent into the sky and splashed down as far away as southern Bohemia, where moldavite was first found.
More moldavite has been found in western Moravia, the Cheb Basin of northwest Bohemia, Lusatia in Germany and Waldviertel in Austria.
Geologists have continued to study moldavite since. Geological and radioactive dating offers evidence that moldavite was formed by a meteor strike 15 million years ago.
Theories About Moldavites
There are different theories on the origin of tektites like moldavite. Geologists agree that they were caused by comet or meteorite impact. Nothing else would produce the melted silicate.
A comet or meteorite strikes with such force that melted rock is splashed into the upper atmosphere where the droplets cool and form shiny glassy tektites.
Where Geologists theories differ is whether tektites formed on the Earth, the Moon or even have another extraterrestrial origin.
Since Suess’s time, tektites have been found on every continent except Antarctica and South America. But, moldavites are unique. Unlike other tektites, moldavites can be cut into beautiful gemstones.
Unlike other tektites, moldavites can be cut into beautiful gemstones.