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What’s pitted and scarred and filled with pock marks, yet is considered one of the sexiest objects out there? If your answer is ‘tektites’, you would be absolutely correct!
At least you’d be correct according to the world of the Taobabe, which, as you know by now, deal with things of unusual interest. The first time I talked about tektites, it had to do with its ghost-repelling properties.
Since I was more interested in its ghost-repelling properties, I did not go into any other important details of tektites. In this posting, I will attempt to circle back around to address this shortcoming.
The Four Tektite Regions
Tektites are unassuming little black rocks that look as if they are the random lava rocks people use in their landscaping and rock-scape gardens. They look so common that it seems as if they can be found everywhere in the world.
Truth is, there are only a few areas on earth (albeit very LARGE areas) that have these strewn fields of tektites: the Australasian, Central European, Ivory Coast, and North American areas. There is also the Wabar area, but that is an anomaly that I will discuss in future postings. 
If I took each of these areas of strewn fields and each of these types of tektites and dug deep into their properties, I could fill many many posts, but for the purpose of this posting, I will give generalities so we could at least get a sense of what they are and more importantly, HOW they were formed.
Let me be perfectly clear. All tektites are GLASS, not rock material. They are “…rounded, pitted bodies of silicate glass, non-volcanic in origin, most likely derived by large hypervelocity meteorite collisions with terrestrial rocks.” 
Now, there is glass, and then there is glass. It is easy to mistake obsidian for tektite, so beware of the differences when buying tektites.
Obsidian is a type of black glass that is formed within volcanic activity. It is very similar to tektites, but the difference lies in its formation source.
Obsidian glass is terrestrial in origin because they are created by volcanos. Since volcanos are found within the Earth’s atmosphere, it cannot create glass that are made within the conditions of outer space.
Within each tektite found on Earth contains a specific type of glass known as lechatelierite.
Lechatelierite is the purest form of amorphous silica glass. It can only be formed under extreme heating conditions such as a meteorite impact. It cannot be formed by volcanic explosions because volcanos do not reach temperatures high enough to completely melt the structure of silica.
Tektites are, therefore considered non-terrestrial in origin because they are created in outer space and will often include debris of non-Earth origins within the glass structure.
Now, it may seem as if I’m belaboring the minutia regarding glass droplets, but bear up with me. It makes sense when you step back and look at them as a whole.
Found in these four areas are four types of tektites: the microtektites, the splash-form tektites, the australites, and the Muong Nong type tektites. Their shapes range from buttons, dumbbells, teardrops, disks, to winged bodies, and rods.
Microtektites are tiny tektites, around 1mm in size, found usually offshore in deep sea sediments that are within the same ages as the other onshore strewn fields. How do scientists know to look for them if they’re underwater? I’ll get into the reasons why later.
Splash-form tektites look like drops of dark liquid. This is because they occur during an asteroid impact which heats up the surrounding earth and rocks, throwing them up into the air as melted glass droplets. When they fall, they assume liquid droplet forms (splash-form), which are free-form and are only restricted by the surface tension of their viscous nature at that point.
Australites are similar to splash-form with one exception. Aerodynamically shaped tektites, which are mainly part of the Australasian strewn field, are splash-form tektites (buttons) which display a secondary ring or flange. The secondary ring or flange is produced during the high-speed re-entry and ablation of a solidified splash-form tektite into the atmosphere. This means that the australites have formed and reformed, at least twice in their lifetimes, to have developed secondary flanges.
Muon Nong tektites are larger tektites with a layered property that is unique to other tektites. It is, in essence, a form of impact melt sheet glass. More importantly, it looks to have been formed by the repeated flowing of thin layers of molten glass.
This repeated process of glass-building layer-by-layer results in a thick sheet which is much more bubbly and much less homogeneous than splash form glass while still being chemically similar to that of the aerodynamically formed specimens.
In short, it is the only sort that is still considered non-terrestrial in nature even though it was never thrown up into space to be created…go figure. You explain that to me, because I’m stumped here.
Now, to be perfectly clear, I find all of these types of tektites to be extremely interesting, but since this is a website about all things odd, not just of the Vietnamese persuasion, I wanted to focus in on this particular tektite, the Muong Nong tektite.
Since I was already in Vietnam at the time of this posting, I did a quick search on google maps to find the exact location of Muong Nong to see if I could make a quick incursion there. Imagine my surprise when my search came up completely empty.
Empty…except for one small strange result.
Muong Nong Tektite
Older texts written about the initial tektite finds talk about the Muong Nong area as being in Vietnam. Later texts identify them within the region in and around Savannakhet, Laos.
Now you know me. Although I am Vietnamese-American, I have talked about all regions of the world where oddities occur. I don’t care where they come from. I only care about the truth.
In any case, it didn’t matter because quick online searches revealed no place in either Laos or Vietnam that were named Muong Nong. I widened the search to include China as well as Cambodia. No cigar. In fact, I lost a considerable amount of time trying to figure out exactly where these tektites had been taken from.
In a sudden fit of clarity, I ordered Google’s AI to narrow in on an often-ignored area of Vietnam where a small sub-set of indigenous people known as the Mường live. It was a reasonable assumption. Their name (Mường) was on the tektite itself. It had to be somewhere on their turf.
Google AI came up with this:
This breathtaking mountainous region of north-west Vietnam is known as Mường Lống.
So how did Muong Nong turn into Mường Lống? The answer lies in how the region pronounces certain Vietnamese words.
Since written Vietnamese was created by western linguists as a way to more easily read and write the very difficult tonal Vietnamese language, the rules are fairly simple.
If you see an ‘L’, you pronounce the letter ‘L’. If you see the letter ‘N’, you pronounce the letter ‘N’. There are no silent letters because if it is silent, you simply omit the letter.
Easy peasy right? Except it’s not that easy.
There is a linguistic oddity that affects a few tiny regions of Vietnam. In some specific areas, the letters ‘N’ and ‘L’ are verbally switched, causing a distinguished phonetic marker.
Examples of this would be the word ‘đi làm‘ which means ‘to go to work’. Although the word ‘làm‘ is obviously written with the letter ‘L’, it is consistently vocalized as ‘nàm‘ within these few tiny areas by the locals living there.
Conversely, any word written with the letter ‘N’ would be pronounced using the letter ‘L’. The word ‘nóng‘ which means ‘hot’ in English, would be pronounced ‘lóng‘.
When a non-native Viet-speaker enters an area that exhibits this peculiar linguistic trait, it is understandable that there would be a misunderstanding of how the locals speak.
Mường Lống turned into Mường Nống. Since Mường Nống does not exist on the Vietnamese cartography, no search would result in the correct location.
It was however, used to identify the specific sort of tektite that has layers upon layers of glass, melted on top of each other, in such a unique manner that it became an adjective to describe the way extreme heat affects large pieces of glass.
Once the spoken word ‘Nống‘ had been written down and then disbursed throughout the geological-tektite world, it remains within the scholastic diaspora, error and all.
So now, we all know of this specific sort of tektite as the Mường Nống tektite, instead of the Mường Lống tektite.
Armed with the knowledge that there was plenty of tektites in Vietnam, I went to various areas in search of any signs of tektites, but alas…there were peridots and jade and pearls and rubies and onyx and sapphires and spinels and tourmalines galore.
Of tektites, there was nothing. I did see some lava rocks though…actually quite a bit of lava rocks since Vietnam has a huge system of lava tubes and caves, yielding a huge amount of lava rocks.
Although lava rocks resemble tektites, they were most certainly not the real deal. What was worse, the vendors were asking for crazy prices on rocks that I could tell were not tektites.
So I ended up doing what any sane person would do. I got on my trusty mac book and did a quick search. A few minutes later, I found a good meteorite website based out of California which had a list of tektites for sale. Their website is www.meteorites-for-sale.com.
Note: I am not affiliated with them, nor am I advertising for them. I just bought a few rocks from their website.
Since the prices were reasonable, I snagged three. These three are Vietnamese in origin but they are not Mường Nống tektites. I could not afford Mường Nống since they are HUGE ROCKS that cost a lot of money to buy and ship, but I’m happy with my little purchases.
Here are my three little gems:
These pieces were originally part of the ‘Viet Nam Tektite from the Darryl Futrell Collection of Tektites’. As such, all of these stones are listed as classified meteorites that have been examined and tested in laboratories by professional meteorite scientists.
That official listing is available online at The Meteoritical Database.
I am super excited and looking forward to receiving these sexy little black rocks. I will do a quick update when I receive them. Until then, have an amazing day!
5 thoughts on “Sexy Little Black Rocks”
Thanks for the very informative and well written article. Just like in a particle collider, I guess tektites are like macroscopic version of byproducts from the collision of enormous mechanical energy – very interesting!
Thank you for reading. I totally geek out on subject matter like these. I also have a particular love of the particle collider as well, although I don’t know that much about it. Looking forward to learning more about its purported ‘god particle’ and how it can affect this dimension we live in.
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I am curious if this is related to other sites you have visited or written about, if either these materials or meteorites or both were found there. It just seems like you are onto something more with it. They are super cool by the way.
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Thank you for your question. I am not affiliated with any of the sites I list. The only website I write on is my own Taobabe. Hang on tight, as I think my box of tektite has just arrived. I will do a quick update on them very soon.
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I’m sorry, I had meant the physical sites like Hoi An Shrine, etc., whether these tektites have been found there. I didn’t think you were affiliated with the meteorite website, I guess I was unclear, I didn’t mean to be. I do look forward to updates, thanks for writing. It’s an entirely new topic to me, very cool, whether its related to other posts you have written or not.