WABAR GLASS: the Pearls of Al'Ad


"Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah

brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;

And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain,

and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that

which grew upon the ground." Genesis 19:24-25


I love the story behind Wabar. In Saudi Arabia, stories were told of a city destroyed by heavenly fire in punishment for the inhabitant's iniquities. Thinking of the biblical account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the English explorer H. St. J. Philby made the exceedingly difficult journey to the reported site deep in the Empty Quarter. He found perfectly circular glassy walls enclosing sand-floored depressions up to a hundred meters in diameter. In the surrounding area, they found a scattering of shiny jet-black "pearls", assumed by the locals to have been lost by the fleeing harem and scorched by the fires of heavenly wrath.

We now know that these walled "cities" are in fact, a cluster of meteorite impact craters where desert sand was fused into glass. Wind erosion scoured away surrounding sands, leaving the walls in positive relief. Sand accumulated in the sheltered interiors forming flat courtyards. The beads and teardrops of the harem are impact glass.

"Hard to come by" is an understatement, and very soon the wording will switch to "nearly impossible". When the site was first visited by Philby in 1932, the craters with their glassy walls and surrounding ejecta were all well displayed. When visited by expeditions in 1994 and 1995, the features were almost completely buried by migrating dunes, but parts of the crater and ejecta blanket were still exposed. Now, I am told that they are gone completely, buried by at least 1 meter of sand in the shallowest spots with a dune field tens of meters high advancing. There will be no (oops! a little bit) more material coming from Wabar. See amazing NEW stock below!



Here's what we've got, with a clickable photomicrograph to show the detailed features of the specimens. They're small (about 4.5 mm, similar to a BB) and expensive. Sorry about that part, but that's the way super-rare things go as the supply dwindles to naught. SEE BELOW: UNEXPECTED NEW STOCK!

Click to enlarge
$100 each (These 5 are all sold. See below for others)

New 2004!!! Incredible Material! January 13, 2004

We didn't expect to find a source for any more Wabar glass in our lifetime, but against all odds, a recent visitor to the impact site found a blow-out in the dunes that exposed part of the ejecta layer!

We bought all that they collected, and it's fabulous material, with specimens approaching 10 gms, and many nice combinations of frothy white Wabar with iron-rich crusts, as well as complex Irghizite-like splatters, pearls, tears, and even a dumbell!.
A more detailed listing of the new inventory follows the information section below.


Wabar impactite glass is scientifically unique and special material in that it is quite young, with both the responsible meteorite and several impact craters preserved. Dating to about 6400 years B.P. (with some dissenting data supporting a much younger age, maybe 450 years or less), the type IIIA medium octahedrite bolide is estimated to have had an original mass on the order of 3500 tons. The impact created at least 3 craters, 116m, 64m, and 11m in diameter. These are now entirely or almost entirely buried in sand dunes which may well hide additional craters. Impactites were ejected to distances of at least 850m to the NNW. Coarser material up to 10 cm or more in diameter is concentrated close to the craters, while smaller 2 to4 mm beads dominate near the extremes of the ejecta train. No bedrock is exposed in the area. The target material appears to have been entirely quartz-rich aeolian sand.

Two distinct varieties of impact glass were produced: "black" and "white". The white impactite varies from shock-fused sandstone to frothy, pumicious material, and commonly contains about a half percent of meteoritic contaminants. The black glass is typically dense and vitreous, often forming a coating on white frothy glass cores. The black glass contains about 4.5% meteoritic components. If the meteoritic contributions to the glass are subtracted, the two types are chemically very similar to each other and to the target sand. (The meteorite consists of about 94% Fe, 3.5% Ni, 2.28% Cu, 0.22% Co, and up to 3.6 ppm iridium). A fine summary paper can be found at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/jwynn/3wabar.html

CClick images for Blowups. CLOSE RESULTING WINDOW TO RETURN HERE

Where applicable, be sure to include the group number from the photo in your orders. Paired images are fronts and backs. Both are clickable. "Sold" items current 1/9/2015

Pearls, Puddles, & Tears. The Classics! Click here for price table. Sorry---they are extrememly rare, famous, and pricey.  

My Biggest. 9.7 grams. A complete individual with lots of White Wabar "instarock" adhesions and inclusions! $400;

A ropy sculpture. Scale this up and install it in the city park. Amazing. $400

a heart of White Wabar froth coated with iron-rich black glass. Total classic. $550Sold

Complete individual---a complex twist of intricate glass threads and ribbons $300Sold

Waaay cool. Pushing hard on the "as good as it gets" mystery door! $325

As good as it gets. Only a real sicko would sell this one. I've gotta make time to see my shrink--- $300

And another. This has the neatest little folded ribbon you'll ever see. Guaranteed. $300

1    
2    
3    
4    
5    
6  Sold  
7    
WWork in progress. For now, your choice, $100

#1 Sold 
#2 Sold 

#4Sold 
#8 Sold 
Work in progress. For now, your choice, $100

#2 Sold

#6 Sold

#7 Sold
Work in progress. For now, your choice, $75

#1 Sold 

#2 Sold 
#3 Sold 

#4 Sold
#5 Sold 

#7 Sold

#8 Sold
 
Work in progress. For now, your choice, $50

  #3 Sold
#4 Sold
 
#5 Sold

#9 Sold
   

#12 Sold
Work in progress. For now, your choice, $40

  #1 Sold 

#2 Sold 
#3:Sold
#4 Sold
 
#5 Sold
#6 Sold
#7 Sold

#8 Sold
 #9 Sold 
All sold

  #1 Sold

#2 Sold

#3 Sold


 #4 Sold

#5Sold
 

#6 Sold
#7 Sold
 #8 Sold

#6 Sold
#10 Sold
#12:Sold
All sold
Wabar for the World! Probably the best deal in the history of Wabar glass.
.All sold!

All Sold
       
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