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Black obsidian

Black obsidian produced by the cooling of silica-rich lava

• Origin : Lipari, Iles Éoliennes, Italia

• Dimensions: H : 6 ; l : 12 ; P : 13

• Collection: Coll. Lille Natural History Museum

• Credit: © Lucie Nicolas / Ecomusée de l’Avesnois


Volcanoes are arguably the largest natural glass furnaces in the world. Obsidian is a natural glass produced from the rapid cooling of silica-rich lava. It is easy to polish and makes a cutting edge when broken. Humans used obsidian to make axes, arrowheads and amulets 100,000 years ago.