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Last Updated: Thursday July 20 2006 10:42 GMT

King's gem 'made by space blast'

King Tutankhamun's necklace with the mysterious stone in the middle
A gem in one of King Tutankhamun's necklaces could have been made by a chunk of space rock smashing into Earth millions of years ago.

Up until now it's been a mystery where this yellow-green glass stone came from on the Egyptian royal mummy's jewellery because it's older than Egypt itself!

Scientists now think it was made by a meteorite exploding over the Sahara Desert millions of years ago.

The blast's heat would have turned the ground to glass and created the gem.

Experts studied the unusual gem and realised it could only be made at an extremely hot temperature - and the only answer was a meteorite hitting the Earth.

They worked out that the explosion was more powerful than an atomic bomb.

A pyramid
But as there's no sign of the crash, such as a crater, the scientists reckon the meteorite must have exploded above the desert.

A similar thing happened in 1908, when a massive explosion flattened 80 million trees in Tunguska, Siberia.

King Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered by archaeologists in 1922.

It contained his body along with 5,000 relics. The pharaoh is thought to have died in 1352 BC.

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