Cosmic forces may have formed a rare glass gem belonging to King Tutankhamen of ancient Egypt, scientists say.

Researchers from the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority say the glass has a silica content of 98 per cent, making it the purest in the world.

The researchers claim such glass could only be found in the Eastern Sahara desert.

The researchers say the glass was formed at a temperature that approached that of the surface of the sun, suggesting a meteorite might have created the glass.

Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico believe that the glass was made from a natural airburst.

A colossal instance of such a burst happened when Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with Jupiter and exploded into its atmosphere, creating the largest incandescent fireball ever witnessed.

The New Mexico researchers created a simulation much like the 1994 Jupiter collision to learn more about what happens during such an event.

The results showed an impact that could have created a fireball hot enough to generate ground temperatures of 1,800 Celsius, and possibly leave behind a field of glass.

According to the researchers, airborne explosions happen roughly once every 100 years.They say another such event is likely to happen in the near future.