Center for Meteorite Studies

Where can I find maps of strewn fields so that I can search for meteorites?
An Internet search can locate private vendors that offer strewn field maps. The academic literature (e.g., journals), accessed through your local college or university library, can also provide information on strewn fields in articles written about particular meteorite falls or finds. We do not guarantee the authenticity of information on third-party websites.
 
What are tektites? What is moldavite?
Tektites are glassy objects formed when a large impactor strikes Earth and ejects molten terrestrial material that eventually falls back to Earth. Moldavite is a type of greenish, glassy tektite from the Czech Republic.
 
Can I collect meteorites at Meteor Crater?
No. Refer to http://www.meteorcrater.com/ for information.
 
Have any meteorites been found in ______? 
 
Where can I find information on the _______ meteorite? 
 
What elements are found in meteorites?
The same elements that we find on Earth are found in meteorites. No new element has ever been identified in a meteorite. Meteorites do contain unique minerals that are not common on Earth because the Solar System conditions under which meteorites formed were very different from the conditions (e.g., pressure, temperature, oxidation state) that exist on Earth today. For detailed information on meteorite chemical composition, click here.
 
How do we know meteorites come from space?
Meteorites that come from the asteroid belt are about the same age as the solar system, approximately 4.5 billion years old. No Earth rocks are this old, because they have all been ground up and reformed repeatedly by erosion and the Earth's tectonic plate system.
 
How do we know that certain meteorites come from Mars and the Moon? 
Meteorites from Mars and the Moon are distinguished from Earth rocks and other meteorites by their chemical and mineral compositions and their age. In addition, lunar meteorites are distinguished by their resemblance to the lunar rocks collected by the Apollo astronauts, while the gasses trapped in shock glass within martian meteorites have been matched to measurements of the martian atmosphere taken by the NASA Viking mission in 1976.
 
 
How much are meteorites worth? Does the Center buy meteorites? Where can I sell my meteorite?
We do not buy uncertified meteorites from the general public or offer appraisals.
 
I really want a piece of a meteorite in the Center's collection; can I buy it from the Center?
No, we never sell meteorites from the collection.
 
What's the difference between a meteor, meteoroid, meteorite, asteroid, planetoid, planet, comet, etc.?
A wide variety of terms is used to describe planetary bodies in the Solar System. Definitions for some of the most common are as follows:
 
Planet:
A large rocky, metallic and/or gaseous body in orbit around a central star.
Asteroid:
A rocky and/or metallic body or collection of bodies in orbit around the Sun that formed early in Solar System history and has changed little since that time. Can also be identified as a planetoid or minor planet.
Meteoroid:
A natural, solid object, up to 1 m (39 3/8") in size, moving in interplanetary space, not limited to asteroids or objects derived from a larger celestial body.*
Meteor:
A trail of light produced by a meteoroid as it passes through an atmosphere.
Meteorite:
A meteoroid that was naturally transported from the celestial body on which it formed to a region beyond that body's gravitational field, and that later collided with the surface of a celestial body larger than itself, such as Earth.*
Comet:
An ice- and- rock-bearing body that travels in a highly elliptical orbit around the Sun. Gas and dust released from the comet as it nears the Sun gives a comet its characteristic tail.
 
Are there non-magnetic meteorites?
Yes, however, they are extremely rare, and are not metallic. Please refer to the achondrites section for more details.
 
 
How old are meteorites?
Meteorites range in age. The oldest particles in a meteorite, calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions from carbonaceous chondrites, have been dated at 4.56 years old Meteorites that originate from asteroids are all ~4.5 billion years old. Meteorites that originate from the Moon range in age from 4.5 to 2.9 billion years old. Meteorites that originate from Mars range in age from 4.5 billion years old to 200 million years old.
 
Where and when do meteorites usually hit/occur?
Meteorites can and do hit the Earth anywhere and anytime. Click here for more information.
 
How do we know whether a meteorite is a new, distinct meteorite or part of an older find?
Detailed microscopic, chemical and mineralogical analyses are required to uniquely identify and classify a meteorite.  Such analyses can distinguish between two  meteorites that fell in a single area at different times, or can link two specimens of a single meteorite event that were found in separate locations or at separate times.
 
I just saw a fireball; whom should I inform?
The American Meteor Society maintains a database of fireball sightings.
 
 


Comments are closed.

Sign Up for Center Updates!

Be the first to learn about CMS events and news; sign up for email updates here!


Facebook
Twitter
YouTube


Upcoming Events

January 2017
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
December 25, 2016 December 26, 2016 December 27, 2016 December 28, 2016 December 29, 2016 December 30, 2016 December 31, 2016
January 1, 2017 January 2, 2017 January 3, 2017 January 4, 2017 January 5, 2017 January 6, 2017 January 7, 2017
January 8, 2017 January 9, 2017 January 10, 2017 January 11, 2017 January 12, 2017 January 13, 2017 January 14, 2017
January 15, 2017 January 16, 2017 January 17, 2017 January 18, 2017 January 19, 2017 January 20, 2017 January 21, 2017
January 22, 2017 January 23, 2017 January 24, 2017 January 25, 2017 January 26, 2017 January 27, 2017 January 28, 2017
January 29, 2017 January 30, 2017 January 31, 2017 February 1, 2017 February 2, 2017 February 3, 2017 February 4, 2017

Frequently Asked Questions

Click here to find the answers to the most common questions asked of the Center for Meteorite Studies!


Meteorite of the Month

Lost City

January’s meteorite of the month is Lost City, an (H5) ordinary chondrite that fell in Oklahoma, USA, January 3, 1970, at 8:14 PM.   The many witnesses described the associated …


CMS News

Catch up on all the latest news from the Center for Meteorite Studies!