Breaking Down the Dust

Oct 13, 2014

Burning Man is a week long festival in August that takes place in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. It's a harsh environment to live and camp for a week, but Burners (what you call someone who goes to Burning Man) live for the challenge. One of the defining elements of the experience is the Black Rock Playa, the desert itself. Unlike most deserts, it is a dusty alkali flat from an ancient ocean or lake bed.

Two Burners from Medford Massachusetts, upon studying the chemicals that make up the dusty playa, concluded that they should be able to make glass from the dust. 

I talked with Steve Tucker and Michael Tamburro to find out how that process worked and what the playa is really made of.

My bike out on the dusty playa of Black Rock City.
Credit Alecia Orsini