|Meteorite or Meteor Wrong?
I have always had a fascination with meteorites. I guess it goes hand-in-hand with my fondness
for rocks, minerals, fossils, etc. Meteorites offer that element of mystery though, you don't know
where exactly it came from, or how long it traveled through space before colliding with Earth. At
this time, meteorites are actually quite valuable. I'm told a true meteorite is worth about $10.00
per gram. That's more valuable than gold! What makes a meteorite valuable however is as varied
as the rock itself.
I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but from the little bit of research I have done
on the subject, I have come across the following variables:
One thing that gives your found meteorite value is "Is it a known meteorite".
This basically means, experts observed the meteorite, know where it landed, and have
researched it, and have most likely given it a name.
Secondly, the composition of your specimen has a great deal to do with its value.
A few years ago researchers were examining a specimen, and determined that it most likely came
from the planet Mars. Upon closer examination scientists believe that they have found fossil
evidence of living organisms in the rock. Imagine your specimen answering the question, "Is
there life on Mars?"
I'm sure that is one valuable meteorite! For the most part, meteorites are made of known mineral
elements, some more valuable than others. Iron seems to be a very common element in most
Another thing that can effect the value of your specimen is simply this. Did you personally
observe the meteorite striking the earth? And a long the same lines, is there a story behind your
finding the specimen. As an example; Did the meteor crash through the roof of your house,
bounce off the refrigerator and come to rest in your dog's water dish? See, a story like that would
add value to your specimen.
Anyway, like I said, I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. I have done a little
research on how to identify a specimen as a meteor, but from what I have read, there are a few
basic rules for narrowing down the field, but only your true expert knows for sure.
So here we go, the following is a list of what I have found to be the basics of identifying whether a
rock is a meteorite or a meteor wrong:
|Basic rules of meteorite identification:
1. Is your specimen attracted to a magnet? As I stated previously, most meteorites contain Iron deposits,
so therefore a magnet will be attracted to them. How much attraction depends on iron content, rust, etc.
2. Density. Most meteorites are very dense, and are heavier then a normal rock of the same size.
Numbers one and two are the basic points of identification. If your specimen fails these tests, then most likely
you have a meteor wrong.
Other points of identification are not so clear. First of all, the outer appearance of the specimen is in most
cases smooth. When a meteor enters the Earth's atmosphere, it gets very hot, and the outer area melts and
becomes smooth. This makes sense to me, but I have seen pictures of known meteorites that didn't look
smooth to me. Anyway, I guess there are lots of variables involved in regards to outer surface area. Where
did it land, what did it hit, how long has it been in the ground, etc, etc.
In conclusion, I would say to use rules one and two as a basic rule of thumb. After that, use your deductive
reasoning to decide if you have a likely prospect.
|Ok, now I'll explain the photos that are at the bottom of this page, and why I added this page to my website.
First of all, a while back a friend of mine told me a story about how he had taken his grand-daughters out for
an afternoon in the park. The girls got bored with the playground equipment, so they took a walk out in an
open area behind the playground. As he walked along he spotted a rock that looked out of place among the
other rocks in the area. He picked it up and found that it was much heavier then he expected. Compared to
the other rocks about the same size, this rock was much heavier!
The rock seemed to have a metallic feel to it, and after examining it a little closer, decided maybe it was a
meteorite. He told his grand-daughters what he thought about the rock, and the girls ran off in search of their
own meteorites. It didn't take long for the two girls to fill their pockets with meteorites to the point their pants
were barely able to stay up while they walked. They had a great day, and went home with a bucket full of
meteorites to show all of their friends. After telling me the story, and our subsequent conversation, my friend
offered to bring me some of the rocks, so that I could give him an opinion on whether I thought they really
were meteorites. A few days later though, my friend informed me that the girls had taken all of the rocks with
them, and he didn't have not one left. He described the rocks to me, and explained exactly where they had
found them, so the next chance I got, I went in search of my own meteorites.
The photos below are of the suspected rocks I found when I went out searching. Take a look, and see what
you think. Are they meteorites or meteor wrongs?
|For better viewing, click any image
to enlarge it.