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Electrostriction is a cause of laser beam self-trapping and damage in transparent glass. It predominates over other self-focusing mechanisms, such as Kerr effect or thermal self-focusing, under certain conditions. This paper shows that self-focusing can occur even if the laser pulse is so short that no steady state is achieved, provided the pulse power is large enough. In the steady state, the threshold power for self-focusing is independent of beam size. In the transient region, the threshold power increases and becomes proportional to the square of the initial beam radius, in the limit of large radius beams or short pulses. The theoretical trapping threshold derived here is less than typical experimental thresholds for track formation in glass.