WABAR Impact Material
Something I haven’t seen in a long time, Impact material from Wabar, black glassy melt, and sandy looking impactite. Getting rare since the site is now mostly covered by the sand.
The Wabar craters are impact craters located in Saudi Arabia first brought to the attention of Western scholars by British Arabist, explorer, writer and Colonial Office intelligence officer St John Philby, who discovered them while searching for the legendary city of Ubar in Arabia’s Rub’ al Khali (“Empty Quarter”) in 1932.
The Wabar site covers about 500 by 1,000 metres (1,600 by 3,300 ft), and the most recent mapping shows three prominent, roughly circular craters. Five were reported by Philby in 1932, the largest of which measured 116 metres (381 ft) and 64 metres (210 ft) wide. Another was described by the second Zahid expedition and is 11 metres wide: this may be one of the other three originally described by Philby. They are all underlain by a hemispherical rim of “insta-Rock,” so called because it was created from local sand by the impact shock wave, and all three are nearly full of sand.
The surface of the area partly consisted of “Insta-Rock” or “impactite”, a bleached-white, coarsely-laminar sandstone-look-alike, and was littered with black glass slag and pellets. The impactite featured a form of shocked quartz known as “coesite”, and is thus clearly the product of an impact event. The impact did not penetrate to bedrock, but was confined to local sand, making it particularly valuable as a research site.
The sand was turned into black glass near the craters, and pellets of the glass are scattered all over the area, decreasing in size with distance from the craters due to wind-sorting. The glass is about 90% local sand and 10% meteoritic iron and nickel.
The presence of iron fragments at the site also pointed to a meteorite impact, as there are no iron deposits in the region. The iron was in the form of buried fist-sized cracked balls and smooth, sand-blasted fragments found on the surface. The largest fragment was recovered in a 1966 visit to Wabar and weighs 2.2 tons. It is known as the “Camel’s Hump” and was on display at the King Saud University in Riyadh until it was moved to the new National Museum of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh, where it is displayed in the entrance foyer.
W001 Impact Melt, glassy, black, long mass, 12.5×9.4x5cm, 264g, $2650.00
W002 Impact Melt. glassy, black, rounder mass, 12.5×8.1x5cm, 335g, $3350.00
W004 Impact Melt, glassy, black, long, curved, 12.5×8.7×5.6cm, 194g, $1950.00
WGlass14 Impact Melt Glass, odd shape, many droplets attached to the surface, 34 x 23mm, 7.6g, $350.00
WGlass12 Impact Melt Glass, “drumstick” shape, many droplets attached to the surface, 36 x 18mm, 2.67g, $225.00
WGlass41 Impact Melt Glass, round, thorny looking, many droplets, 19x15x12mm, 2.28g, $200.00
And of course there will be more in the near future.