How to Identify a Meteorite
(The Magnet Test and Native Iron)

About 90% of meteorites will attract a magnet. This is true for iron meteorites and for stone meteorites. You don't need a special magnet--a refrigerator magnet like will do. Here is how to check.

In meteorites almost all of the attraction is the result of native iron. Native iron is iron metal--bright silver-colored when it is cut or sanded. It is malleable--that is it bends rather than breaks. Native iron is extremely rare in natural earth rocks.

Here is how you can expose native iron.
This is a photo of a ground corner. .


Not all rocks that attract a magnet are meteorites. A common earth mineral called magnetite will attract a magnet. Here is a photo.


Many man-made objects contain native iron. These include slag as well as manufactured objects. If you find a piece of malleable metal that does not attract a magnet, then it is almost certainly a man-made object.


Do you still think you might have a meteorite--then on to the next test. Click here.

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