Mount Ararat is known as a StratoVolcano. This Lava tends to be Glassy like. Giving it a shimmer. In addition ice is covering the lava adds to the shimmer. It's a naturally occuring Glass called Obsidian which is found in Felsic Lava flow and is caused when this lava cools very quickly (like in a VERY cold enviroment on top at 13k Feet on Mount Ararat).
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The lava that flows from stratovolcanoes tends to be viscous; it cools and hardens before spreading far. The magma forming this lava is often felsic, having high-to-intermediate levels of silica (as in rhyolite, dacite, or andesite), with lesser amounts of less-viscous mafic magma.
Picture of Obsidian Lave almost identical to the Chinese explorer picture I posted above.
posted on 05/01/2010 11:10:00 AM PDT
Obsidian is not transparent or translucent. It is shiny, and an example of a very nicely crafted hand mirror, carved of a single piece of obsidian, was excavated from a neolithic context in Anatolia, I’ll see if I can find a pic. I thought I had a scan of a B&W pic from Mellaart’s book of circa 1960. The site where it was found is Catal Huyuk, which was sacked and abandoned about 7500 BC.
Obsidian isn’t ice. That earlier picture shows ice. It also shows some rubble, which can be igneous, but in the “ark” shot is just some assorted loose rock the hoaxers tossed in.
However, some non-black obsidian that may be of interest to you:
The pyroclastic flow that covered Herculaneum (neighbor of Pompeii, but closer to the eruption) was hot enough to carbonize wood (I guess that’s obvious) and otherwise leave it unharmed. There is more than one example known of wood doors that are still operable on their hinges, yet were carbonized in 79 AD.
posted on 05/02/2010 5:43:25 PM PDT
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