If the world was made of glass, would we be able to see through it?
Dave - Glass is obviously transparent, so if the world was a beautiful pane of glass, you could see straight through it. But if you've ever dropped a glass on the floor, it shatters into thousands of pieces. If you've got loads of little pieces of glass, it stops being transparent. although each piece of glass is transparent, because when light hits a surface, some reflects and some refracts (it bends), if you have a pile of rough bits of glass, you get lots of reflections and refractions and the light all merges together into a white blur. This is why ground glass always looks white.
Chris - That's the same reason why snow looks white when water is transparent isnt' it?
Dave - Yes, and the same with sugar - each crystal is transparent, but a bowl of sugar looks white. So because the Earth isn't nice and flat and shiny like a pane of glass, if it was made out of glass it would probably look white.
Even besides the tiny bits, I'd think I'd think a lot of the large chunks would look more like quartz than the man-made glass we're used to. That is, we'd see colour (assuming there are coloured objects) through it, but not well defined shapes.
Another big problem would be trasmissivity: common glass has a transmission coefficient of ~ 92%. After some tens of metres you don't see anything anylonger. lightarrow, Thu, 16th Sep 2010
"If our world would made of glass"
Even pure silica has an attenuation of 0.03dB/Km (wavelength unspecified but probably in the near IR) so the thickness of the earth would reduce the intensity of the light by about 10^38 fold. It would be opaque for all practical purposes. Bored chemist, Mon, 20th Sep 2010
If the Earth were made of glass, the most likely form would be that of the naturally occurring glass, obsidian, which is not transparent, except in very thin sections. Bill S, Fri, 10th Dec 2010
If you are referring that the World as a material object as a physical lump of polished glass, called earth, it would be shaped like an orb a crystal ball of sorts.. Looking through it would optically invert and fatten the image, (optical term for wide angle imaging panning 360 deg plane), being focused on the other side. Difficult to break, but once broken the Fragments would need to be looked at different angles to see clarity. Maybe multiple of the same images, maybe nothing until moved around.
I once owned a 2 foot square, 2 inch thick piece of glass. I couldn't see much of anything when I looked through it edgewise except a dim green image that was degraded by, presumably, the impurities that stacked up over 2 feet. It was pretty clear when looked through flatwise. SteveFish, Fri, 10th Dec 2010
If earth was made of glass, would it be ground glass?