Two common meteorwrongs are the iron oxide minerals hematite (Fe₂O₃) and magnetite (Fe₃O₄), example pictured below.
Most minerals leave a characteristic colored streak when scraped along the unglazed surface of a ceramic tile or coffee mug. You can do this test at home, using the ceramic ring on the bottom of a coffee cup, but be careful to not break the cup!
Hematite leaves a red-brown streak and magnetite leaves a gray-black streak. Other minerals may leave brown, black, green-black, gray, or even yellow streaks.
If your specimen does not leave a streak, you may have a piece of slag: a man-made industrial byproduct of the mining and metallurgy industries.
Slag (photos of examples above) is often made up of metal, sometimes combined with metal oxides and/or sulfides, and many additional components (silica, calcium, etc.). Slag is often magnetic, and may appear similar to some meteorites, so be wary of this meteorite impostor! It can be found almost anywhere, even in what might be considered “the middle of nowhere”, because slag is commonly used for fill in roads or train tracks.
While your specimen may show some of the common characteristics of a meteorite, online testing alone cannot conclusively identify it as a meteorite.
What do I do now?
Do not send your specimen to the Center.
Due to a substantial rise in demand, as well as budget constraints and staff limitations, the public Meteorite Identification Program hosted by the ASU Center for Meteorite Studies was suspended in 2010.
Specimens sent to the Identification Program are no longer accepted.
The Center for Meteorite Studies is in no way responsible for any specimens sent to the Center, nor is the Center responsible for returning them to senders.