Weird rock found in Western Desert of Egypt
December 20, 2007 10:06 PM   Subscribe

An Egyptian friend of mine found this rock in the West Desert of Egpyt. Can anyone tell us what it is? It's really abnormal-looking. (All of my theories involve Sun Ra and pharaonic collusion with Saturn.)
posted by odasaku to Science & Nature (13 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Is it the same shape on the side we can't see?
posted by Pants! at 10:07 PM on December 20, 2007

How big is it?
posted by wfrgms at 10:41 PM on December 20, 2007

Very probably a hematite. [specimens]

It's been found in Egypt since antiquity (mostly in the Eastern Desert, though, I gather).
posted by dhartung at 11:08 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

How hard is it? Can you scratch some of easily with you nail? would it take a plastic ruler to scratch it or would it take a screwdriver to scratch it?
posted by bigmusic at 12:02 AM on December 21, 2007

Or where is it at on this scale?
posted by bigmusic at 12:04 AM on December 21, 2007

My goodness! It looks very much like a stellated polyhedron to me.
posted by jamjam at 12:10 AM on December 21, 2007

Another vote for hematite. I found one very similar in southern Jordan and that's what I've always thought it was.
posted by goo at 1:44 AM on December 21, 2007

You can test if it is hematite by doing a streak test, rubbing an edge of the rock against a slightly scouring surface (such as unglazed porcelain). If it is hematite, it will leave a brownish-red streak... hence the name, because of the blood-like stain.
posted by methylsalicylate at 2:15 AM on December 21, 2007

Best answer: My dad is a geologist and has been for many, many years. He's studied and seen a lot of meteorites, also, just to rule something out. I sent him this thread and he replied:

"I think some of those folks might be correct and that thing MIGHT be an octahedral pseudomorph of hematite after some bizarre set of magnetite crystals.

"Or it could be just magnetite- if so it would have magnetic properties.

"Or it could be a fallen star or most likely unicorn poop. That’s it."

Sorry that doesn't clear much up, but it's something. Is it magnetic?
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:16 AM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The rock looks the same on the back as on the front, and I think it's like 7 cm or so in diameter.

The thing is in Egypt right now, but I'll have my friend perform the tests you recommended:
1) test to see how hard it is
2) test to see if it is magnetic
3) look into hemotite

Unicorn poop is a pretty great answer, though, fiercecupcake's dad.
posted by odasaku at 8:45 AM on December 21, 2007

This doesn't help identify the rock, but I need to say this anyway:

I want it. I want that rock, or one just like it. At the instant I clicked on the photo, I began to want it so badly that I became lightheaded and short of breath. I have never felt this way about any other inanimate object, and wasn't even aware that it was possible to feel this way in real life. I must possess it. And I don't know why.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:27 AM on December 21, 2007 [4 favorites]

Faint Butts never won fair hematites, my friend.
posted by SlyBevel at 11:59 AM on December 21, 2007

FoB you will have to fight me for it.
posted by nax at 1:15 PM on December 21, 2007

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