How to Identify a Meteorite
(Some meteorite characteristics)

Density. Many meteorites are denser than ordinary rocks. An ordinary rock has a specific gravity (this is the measure of density--grams per cubic centimeter) of about 2.5 to 3.0. Most meteorites are made of heavier minerals. The specific gravity can range from 3 to 8. So if you heft a rock and it feels heavy for its size, that is a good indicator. But, be warned, it is not the only indicator. Meteorites can have specific gravities as low as 1.75--less than an ordinary rock.

Chondrules. Most meteorites are chondrites. They have chondrules--spherical grains from 1 to 10 mm (.04" to .4") in diameter. Here are some photos of chondrules.

Thumbprints. A characteristic of the exterior of meteorites is thumbprints--or regmaglypts as scientists would call them.

Rust. Meteorites almost always contain unoxidized iron when land. Once on Earth they begin to rust.

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

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