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I witnessed a phenomenon that I couldn't conclude its cause. Please bear with me for the length of the recall, for I merely want to include any details that might help us to investigate. I had a cooking glass lid sat on a wooden shelf that is away from the stove and oven and other heating objects. The shelf is nailed on the wall and is situated just above my eye level, and a counter top is also on the same side of the wall where the shelf is installed.

Now here comes the surprise. In a winter afternoon 2011, my room had almost the same temperature as an autumn morning, and while I was cutting my lettuce on that counter top which I pointed out in above passage, a pounding sound, as if a heavy car door slam or a tree trump falling on top of the roof, knocked its introduction from the shelf that was just above my eye level. First, I thought I may had knocked something around me off(which I didn't believe that for there wasn't anything around me to knock off); then I thought it may be my neighbor next door dropping a heavy box; last, I suspected somewhere my roof top collapsed.

But it was my third suspicion directed me to meet that glass lid I mentioned above, and I found it had ruptured completely like glacier creaked BUT still having all broken pieces bounded without any pieces scattering toward random direction! Only the nob of the lid popped out partially. Before this happened, I hadn't used that lid for cooking for years, and I didn't removed it from any heating object nor there was something on top of the lid that day, and I believe what the lid had maybe just an invisible layer of dust.

I was glad my face hadn't been stung by any glass residues, but ponder what really happen to that glass lid and why it ruptured without collapsed. Below, I attached 2 pictures of the scene from that day. If you have any similar experience or know the theory behind it, may you please drop me an explanation to this incidence? Thank you in advance.

I'm new and need reputation to post pictures. I definitely post that 2 pictures once I earn enough reputation point.

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One possible explanation is delayed phase transformation in a nickel sulphide inclusion in toughened glass (http://www.glassonweb.com/articles/article/330/ ), which glass is sometimes used for cooking ware. As noted in a comment to the referenced article, this process can be accelerated by temperature variations. Judging by the description, the pattern of failure seems typical for toughened (tempered) glass. Again, I cannot be sure that this mechanism was indeed present in the case described in the question.

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I read through the article you provided, and it makes sense. At first, I did think the failure was caused by temperature, but then I questioned why my glass bowls and glass cups never busted themselves when temperature changed. I had even thought of air pressure, but then it would be very ridiculous to argue that why the air pressure must be super intensive to burst the glass but not burst a human being (in this case, me). I was ignorant of the name Toughened Glass before you brought up its attention. Now the chemical theory behind this spooky phenomenon does give me relief. –  Joyful Sylph Sep 23 '12 at 1:03

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