rock from Laos melted metal

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melted metal looking rock from Laos

I know nothing about rocks. But I found this and a bunch more that are similar hiking up a river in the jungle of Laos, in SE Asia. If anyone could help me ID it hat would be awesome because we are curious!

It looks like melted metal. Exposed to really high heat I would guess but I don't know how out here in the middle of the jungle. Unless its from a volcano maybe. Like I saI'd though I really have no clue and am knowledgeless on rocks. All of the rocks, some much bigger are ceazy heavy, much heavier than any rock I've picked up of similar size. Some were jet black with bubbly looking surfaces. They are magnetic we put a magnet up to it. Looks like iron. Others don't look the same but afe magnetic as well. If you have any comments I'd love to here or want to see pictures of the other jet black or other melted looking rocks let me know

Thanks for the help.


closed as off-topic by user12525, trond hansen, arkaia, Fred, Semidiurnal Simon Aug 29 at 19:43

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  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Sounds like iron slag or iron waste from smelting operations. Looks right and your description of weight and magnetism would confirm it. $\endgroup$ – winwaed Aug 4 '17 at 18:27
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ More than 2 million tons of bombs were dropped on Laos. $\endgroup$ – Keith McClary Aug 15 '17 at 0:38
  • $\begingroup$ May be just hematite if it has a high weigth, but Iron minerals uses to melt. So you can have goethite+hematite+something else $\endgroup$ – user12525 May 21 '18 at 9:57

It definitely appears to be human-made. I would expect slag to have air pockets, which I don't see. The slag that people have brought in to me to identify (yes, it happens a lot) is relatively low density (compared to iron) and usually not very magnetic.

I think the only choices are either waste metal from an iron pouring (low tech), or debris from cutting torches (high-tech). Since you say that there are much bigger and crazy heavy pieces at the location, my vote is for waste metal from iron pouring.


It looks like swarf / cutting debris from a large thermal cut in thick steel ; air-arc or oxyacetylene . I can't imagine how that material could be in that location .

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ human garbage gets everywhere? $\endgroup$ – John Aug 5 '17 at 4:27
  • $\begingroup$ Its interesting because you can make out drips as cutting torch debris but the location, the middle of the jungle vary strange. $\endgroup$ – Armondo Villaescuza May 17 '18 at 9:12
  • $\begingroup$ @ArmondoVillaescuza 1. It's on a "hiking path", so where people are. 2. It was in/near a river - this stuff transports things around. 3. Plenty of bombs were dropped on Laos - this could be related. 4. The other alternatives are meteorite (which it's not because they don't look like this) or an ultra reduced rock, but that wouldn't survive for too long in a tropical climate without rusting. $\endgroup$ – Gimelist May 21 '18 at 0:34

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