LOCAL TEKTITE NAMES

Written By Aubrey Whymark 2017
Tektites are traditionally named after the region or country in which they are found. This naming can be taken to any desired geographic scale, even naming after a province or island.

Tektite names in common usage:

The table to the left shows some of the more common names applied to tektites. The most popular names represent those of a wider geographic area in which distinctive tektite forms can be recognised.

For instance, in the Philippines the official name of all Philippine tektites is Rizalites. This, however, causes some confusion as it is not specific to the Rizal province, but to the whole of the Philippines. The term Bikolite is specific to the Bicol province and applies to a sub-group of Rizalites.

The more accepted terminology these days is not to use the term Rizalite and to simply use the term Philippinite (for all tektites in the Philippines). Bicol is by far the most productive area for tektites and they are reasonably distinctive, hence the continued use of Bikolite (the k and c are interchangeable English / Tagalog) for tektites from the Bicol Region. Anda Tektites is also another sub-class of Philippinites for the distinctive tektites from near the town of Anda, Pangasinan.

Terms can be quite sensitive. For instance, it is not acceptable to use the term Moldavite for tektites from anywhere else other than the Central European Strewnfield. Similarly you cannot use the term Anda Tektite for tektites outside of Cabarruyan Island (where Anda town is located). To use them elsewhere is like describing a Chilean Sparkling Wine as Champagne - it might be good, but it's not right. If you want to describe the sculpture then the terms 'Moldavite-like sculpture' or 'Anda-type sculpture' are acceptable, with suitable qualification as to where the tektite is from.

Buying Tektites

Before you go to a locality be sure to learn the local name and carry an example. You may hear some folk tales as to the origin of tektites and these can relate to how they are found, such as in fields after heavy rains / thunder and lightning storms or during alluvial mining operations associated with gold. When buying always enquire about other local artifacts / fossils / stones. There may be additional items of interest to you.
 
ABOVE: A list of tektite names in common usage. The list is not exhaustive and is meant to illustrate wide-spread usage.

Australasian Tektites:

Indochinites

The term indochinite refers to all tektites occurring in the Indochinese region. In the strict sense the term Indochina should be confined to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, but for tektite research we use a broader term and define the region as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and southernmost China (Guangxi, Guangdong and Hainan provinces). The Malay Peninsula is not included.

There is no term ‘Laosites’ in common usage. Tektites from Laos are often sold as coming from Thailand.

The term ‘Tibetanites’ is dubious and whilst in common usage typically refers to Thailandites for sale, which vendors wish to either give a mystic twist or mistakenly believe Thailand and Tibet are the same place. There are some reportedly ‘genuine’ Tibetanites (Blood, 1996), although it remains uncertain whether they were found in Tibet or transported into Tibet from Indochina. The author strongly suggests the latter to be more probable. Certainly all the Tibetan tektites offered by reputable dealers that the author has seen cannot be Tibetan. This is on the basis of the morphologies including common elongate bubble forms and plastically deformed teardrops. Tibet is at medial distances and these forms are non-existent or rare in a medial setting. It appears that, although probably genuinely from Tibetan monks, they were ultimately derived from the proximal Indochinese region. The Australasian strewn field is not considered to extend to Tibet.

The term Muong Nong-type ‘tektite’ is used for layered ‘tektites’, which are closer akin to impact glasses. Muong Nong is a type locality in Laos, first described by Lacroix (1935).

Philippinites

The discovery of philippinites was announced by Henry Otley Beyer in his 1928 paper entitled ‘Tektites in Luzon’. In this paper the name rizalites was adopted and remains in common usage today. The name rizalite was proposed by Beyer for two reasons ‘First, all of the specimens so far found by us, except one, have come from the Rizal Province, Luzon (and there already is a mineral known as luzonite). Second, Dr. José Rizal, for whom the province was named, who was also the first Filipino to take a serious interest in the archaeology and natural history of his native land.’

On this website I will use the term philippinite, meaning any tektite (which is part of the Australasian strewn field) found in the Philippine Islands. Whilst the term rizalite was meant to mean all tektites from the Philippines, some confusion arises with people thinking the term rizalite applies only to tektites from the Rizal province of the Philippines. For instance, bikolites (a term in common usage) are rizalites from the Bicol (in English) or Bikol (in Tagalog) region of the Philippines, which as you can see, may lead to confusion. Of note is that Beyer always used the term Bikol tektites and I am not sure when the term bikolites came into common usage. The term philippinite is consistent with other large groupings of tektites in the Australasian strewn field termed indochinites, from the Indochinese Peninsula, and australites from Australia.

Indomalaysianites

This term is essentially applied to medial distance tektites found in Malaysia and northern Indonesia. In terms of morphology these are broadly equivalent to philippinites. Tektites from Borneo (Malaysia) have sometimes been referred to as bornites. The term indonesianites is not usually used because the northern Indonesian tektites (billitonites) are morphologically distinct from the southern indonesianites (javaites), with the former resembling philippinites and the latter resembling australites.

The name billitonites is in common usage for tektites coming from the island of Belitung (formerly known as Billiton). Occasionally the name has been warped to bellitonites, but this is not an accepted name. The term billitonites should strictly be applied to tektites from Belitung, with other locales being indomalaysianites. In some older papers the term billitonites has been used in a broader context, synonymous with indomalaysianites. Billitonites are locally referred to as ‘Batu Satam’ or ‘Satam Stone’.

Javaites

Javaites, should strictly define tektites found on the Indonesian island of Java. The name is, however, often also applied to tektites from minor tektite localities on the southern Indonesian islands, including the island of Flores. The term Javanites is in common usage, but does not conform to the usual nomenclature.

Australites

Australites are defined as tektites coming from Australia. The term is not to be mixed up with Australasian tektites defining tektites from Southeast Asia and Australia.

Unofficial names used for Australasian tektites:

Unofficial Name (+translation) / Official Name / Used in / Source


Leui Kong Si (=Thunder-dung) / Indochinite / Tan-hai Island Cantonese Language / Beyer (1954).

Lei Gong Mo (=Thunder god ink-black stones / Indochinite / China / In general usage.

玻璃陨石 (=Glass meteorite) / Tektite / China / In general usage.

Crottes du diable (=Devil’s dung) / Indochinte / Indochina - Far East / Lacroix (1932).

Pierres (=Stones) / Indochinite (?) / Far East / Lacroix (1935).

Boules de lune (=Moon balls) / Indochinite (?) / Far East / Lacroix (1935).

Excréments d’étoile (=Star-dung) / Indochinite (?) / Far East / Lacroix (1935).

Taeng bituin (=Star-dung) also spelt Tae ng bitúin / Philippinite / Bulakan and Rizal Provinces, Philippines (and Tagalog-speaking areas) / Van Eek (1939) & Beyer (1938 & 1954).

Taeng kulog (=Thunder-dung) / Philippinite / Bulakan and Rizal Provinces, Philippines (and Tagalog-speaking areas) / Van Eek (1939) & Beyer (1954).

Batong arao (=Sun-stones) / Philippinite / Zambales Province, Philippines / Van Eek (1939) & Beyer (1954).

Bisnu (or Bisnú) / Philippinite / Bicol Province (general), Philippines / Beyer (1938 & 1954).

Mañga bisnú , asawa ñg gintó (=Bisnu, mate of the gold) / Philippinite / Camarines Norte, Bicol Province, Philippines / Beyer (1938).

Bisnu, asawa nang ginto (=Bisnu, mate of the gold) / Philippinite / Camarines Norte, Bicol Province, Philippines / Beyer (1954).

Watu-anai (=Termite stones) / Philippinite / Anda, Carrabuyan Island, Pangasinan, Philippines / Beyer (1954).

Batu nin anai (=Stones of the termites) / Philippinite / Northwestern Pangasinan (and Rizal Province), Philippines / Mr. L. L. Wilson in Beyer (1954).

Batong anay & Batong anag (=Termite stones) / Philippinite / Anda, Carrabuyan Island, Pangasinan, Philippines / From visit to Anda in 2014.

Bulalakaw / Philippinite / Philippines / Wikipedia (2011).

Lightning stones / Indomalaysianite / Southern Borneo / Beyer (1954).

Thunder stones / Indomalaysianite / Southern Borneo / Beyer (1954).

Moon-balls / Billitonite / Belitung Island / Beyer (1954)

Batu Satam / Billitonite / Belitung Island / Inhabitants of Belitung Island, pers. comm., 2008.

Satam Stone (from Chinese sa =sand, tam =bile) / Billitonite / Belitung Island / Inhabitants of Belitung Island, pers. comm., 2008.

‘Rain stones’ a special group of Booliah (=Magic stones) / Australite / Aboriginal: Wheelman Tribe (South-western Australia) / Hassell (1936); Baker (1957).

Pandella (=Emu gizzard stone) / Australite / Aboriginal tribes. North-west regions of South Australia / Basedow (1905); Baker (1957).

Kaleya koru (=Emu eye, =Emu gizzard stone) / Australite / Aboriginal tribes / Basedow (1905).

Kaleya Korru (=Emu eye) / Australite / Aboriginal tribes. (South Australia) / Baker (1957).

Mappin (=Emu Stone) / Australite / Aboriginal tribes in Western Australia / Baker (1957).

Karriitch (= “toothache” (kar = root meaning sky in South-east of South Australia / Australite / Aboriginal: Bunanditj Tribe (Darlington District, Western Victoria) / Baker (1957).

Mabbin (= Emu-stones) / Australite / Aboriginal / Baker (1957).

Ooga (staring eyes) / Australite / Aboriginal: Dieri and adjacent tribes. (East of Lake Eyre, South Australia) / Beyer (1954) after Fenner (1935); Baker (1957).

Muramura (= Ancestral Being) / Australite / Aboriginal: Dieri and adjacent tribes. (East of Lake Eyre, South Australia) / Beyer (1954) after Fenner (1935); Baker (1957).

Moppins (=Emu Stone) / Australite / Aboriginal tribes near Glenayle, Western Australia / Cleverley (1995).

Mappain (=Emu-stones) / Australite / Aboriginal / Baker (1957).

Mabbin (=Emu-stones) / Australite / Aboriginal / Baker (1957).

Mindjimindjilpara (= staring-eyes) / Australite / Aboriginal: Wadikali Tribe. (Lake Frome, South Australia) / Baker (1957).

Mullu (=black) / Australite / Aboriginal: Kabi (or Kabi Kabi) Tribe. (Wide Bay-Burnett Area, Queensland) / Rev. John Mathew in Beyer (1954); Baker (1957).

Minkom (Mingom) / Australite / Aboriginal: Wakká (or Wakka Wakka) and Gurang (or Gurang Gurang) and Kabi Kabi Tribes. (Wide Bay-Burnett Area, Queensland) / Rev. John Mathew in Beyer (1954); Baker (1957).

Nyooloo (Njulu) / Australite / Aboriginal: Tjalkadjara Tribe. (Western Australia, Eucla, Nullarbor Plain) / Baker (1957).

Warukati milki (=emu-eyes) / Australite / Aboriginal tribes. (Northern South Australia) / Baker (1957).

Wurokiin / Australite / Aboriginal tribes. (Western Victoria) / Baker (1957).

Obsidian bombs / Australite & Billitonite / Common western term for Australites & Billitonites / Numerous early papers.

Agni Mani (=Pearl of fire) / Tektite (?from Indian miners in Belitung) / Eastern Indian (Sanskrit) / Internet www. gaiawonders. com.

Agni Gemma (=Fire gem) / Tektite (?from Indian miners in Belitung) / Eastern Indian (Sanskrit) / Internet www. gaiawonders. com.

Stone of Shambhala / Tektite / Tibetan monks / Internet www. gaiawonders. com.

Emu Stones

In Australia many Aboriginal tribes have called tektites Emu Eyes or Emu Stones. Emu's commonly use tektites as Gizzard stones (also known as gastroliths or stomach stones), hence the likely association.