Bottles cracking AFTER coming out of the ground

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Still

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Hey guys so I have been pulling some bottles out of a local dump and after about 24-72 hours of just sitting on the floor of my room, I have started to notice some bottles beginning to flash crack and flea bite. These are not sitting in sun light and are just on the ground of a room that only fluctuates temperature by about 5 degrees from evening to night and morning to mid morning. I'm just unsure of why this might be happening and am wondering if anyone on here might have an explanation for this as well as an ideas on how to prevent this. The bottles are dug from a heavily clay rich soil and I only use cold water to clean them (not freeing cold ofc).
Its just incredibly bizarre and I would like to prevent this from happening anymore.
Thanks!
Still
 

HunterTheFox59

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I'm not completely sure but I think it's due to the bottle being taken out of the cold ground and being exposed to the sun/warmth too quickly. Keeping the bottles in the hole away from the sunlight or placing them into a bucket of water right after digging them might prevent this.
 

UnderMiner

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I've noticed the same thing happen on occasion. My guess is the cracks often times are already there but are microscopic. The clay kept the bottles not only under a specific temperature for 100+ years but also under a specific pressure too, the sudden pressure change likely contributes to the sudden cracking. I've also noticed that as bottles dry from being wet cracks that were already present become much more visible and mineralization that wasn't apparent before drying becomes very distinct.
 

hemihampton

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Don't know. but have a Dump where almost every bottle pulled out will do that, sometimes with in a hour or sometimes with in a day or 2. LEON.
 

UncleBruce

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Hey guys so I have been pulling some bottles out of a local dump and after about 24-72 hours of just sitting on the floor of my room, I have started to notice some bottles beginning to flash crack and flea bite. These are not sitting in sun light and are just on the ground of a room that only fluctuates temperature by about 5 degrees from evening to night and morning to mid morning. I'm just unsure of why this might be happening and am wondering if anyone on here might have an explanation for this as well as an ideas on how to prevent this. The bottles are dug from a heavily clay rich soil and I only use cold water to clean them (not freeing cold ofc).
Its just incredibly bizarre and I would like to prevent this from happening anymore.
Thanks!
Still
I had a bottle that had come out of the ground but had been in a collection for years. It had a crack in the neck. I got it from the owner and on the trip home I guess the warmth in the car caused it to split nearly top to bottom. Another bottle I had with a crack in it was setting on my kitchen table and I had washed it earlier in room temperature water. Later I heard a loud POP and the bottle broke completely around the bottle. It happens.
 

Johnny M

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. Not sure if I did this right but there is a YouTube video short where the bottle blows up on a guy after it was just dug. Looks like it could have killed him or blinded him if he wasn't so lucky. Scary to watch! Johnny M
 

willong

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Not sure if I did this right but there is a YouTube video short where the bottle blows up on a guy after it was just dug. Looks like it could have killed him or blinded him if he wasn't so lucky. Scary to watch! Johnny M
You beat me to it Johnny! Your link works fine.

As soon as I saw the thread topic I scrolled down to see if anyone had posted that link. The clip is a scary example of unexpected consequences of our hobby.

Because I am curious about the dig's conditions, temperature and such, I've paid attention while watching every Below The Plains video posted to see if the incident is also in full-length video edit; nothing so far.
 

Still

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I would assume this probably is extremely rare to occur. Now I’m assuming this was found somewhere very hot on a very hot day and coming out of the ground from cold water probably triggered a rapid pressure build inside the bottle with the cork or mud covering to lip and neck. Must have had a crack on the sides of the bottle or a weak spot. The pressure had no where to escape but that weak spot causing the bottle to blow.
But this seems to be extraordinarily rare
 

willong

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Hey guys so I have been pulling some bottles out of a local dump and after about 24-72 hours of just sitting on the floor of my room, I have started to notice some bottles beginning to flash crack and flea bite. These are not sitting in sun light and are just on the ground of a room that only fluctuates temperature by about 5 degrees from evening to night and morning to mid morning. I'm just unsure of why this might be happening and am wondering if anyone on here might have an explanation for this as well as an ideas on how to prevent this. The bottles are dug from a heavily clay rich soil and I only use cold water to clean them (not freeing cold ofc).
Its just incredibly bizarre and I would like to prevent this from happening anymore.
Thanks!
Still
My own experience with thermally-induced cracking indicates that it more likely to occur with rapid cooling of warm glass. I cringe when watching freshly-excavated bottles placed onto snow in diggers' videos. That's how I first learned my tough lesson with a mint Dr Kilmer's Swamp Root cure pulled from barely a foot under forest duff. When I turned around to set another bottle beside it, the Swamp Root was lying on the snow splayed into three segments!

However, both contraction from cooling and expansion from heating can result in cracked glass. Best practice that I can suggest is to immediately insulate your excavated bottles by wrapping them in newsprint, at a minimum, and allow them to acclimate as slowly as practicable to ambient temperature where you clean the bottles.

As noted by other diggers, some are simply destined to fall apart regardless one's efforts to prevent.
 

willong

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I would assume this probably is extremely rare to occur. Now I’m assuming this was found somewhere very hot on a very hot day and coming out of the ground from cold water probably triggered a rapid pressure build inside the bottle with the cork or mud covering to lip and neck. Must have had a crack on the sides of the bottle or a weak spot. The pressure had no where to escape but that weak spot causing the bottle to blow.
But this seems to be extraordinarily rare
It is rare; thus, how notable the video.

I am mainly curious about the chronology of the video. Was the bottle immediately extracted as portrayed on camera? Or, did it lie in the sun on the surface for awhile before the extraction was recreated for the camera? If the bottle lay in the sun building pressure before being re-submerged in cold water for an reenactment, that is quite a different situation from what is presented.

Taking the video at face value, as a true extraction from in situ conditions, then I'm certain that pressure was already elevated in that bottle before it was brought into the warm air and heat of the digger's hand. Microbial processes in the bottle's contents probably contributed most of the gas pressure. If the bottle was extracted from more than a foot submerged under water, the pressure of the water itself was at least half a pound per square inch. There are so many variables in non-homogeneous soil that I don't know how one would even begin to calculate the ground pressure; but there was undoubtedly some that the bottle was under before the pit was excavated. The form of the bottle also contributed to the failure--a cylinder form would be much stronger inherently, even a square cross-section would, than the two broad panels of a whiskey flask shape. Bringing the bottle into the warmer and lower-pressure environment was just a classic "last straw" failure.
 

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