Center for Meteorite Studies

** Due to a substantial rise in demand as well as budget constraints and staff limitations, the ASU Meteorite Identification Program was suspended in 2010**

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.


To learn if you have a meteorite…
Use the links in the "Meteorites" drop-down menu to learn more about meteorites and compare your possible meteorite to real specimens.
 
You can also take this quiz:
  1. Is the specimen black or brown and smooth, with no holes or bubbles on the surface?
  2. Is the specimen solid and compact?
  3. Is the specimen heavy compared to a "normal" rock of the same size?
  4. Does a magnet stick to the surface of the specimen?
  5. Is the specimen entirely made of metal, or does it show metallic specks on all parts of a broken, cut, or polished surface?
If you answered "no" to any of these questions, you probably don't have a meteorite…
Because your specimen does not have the most common characteristics of a meteorite, it is likely a terrestrial rock. Terrestrial rocks that are mistaken for meteorites are called "meteorwrongs".
 
What do I do now?
We encourage you to contact your State Geological Survey office, the Geology department of a local university or college, or your local museum of natural history for help identifying your specimen.
 
In addition, The Field Museum's Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies in Chicago has an identification program.
 
For information on common meteorwrongs, read on!
 
Meteorwrongs
Two common meteorwrongs are the iron oxide minerals hematite (Fe₂O₃) and magnetite (Fe₃O₄), example pictured below.

magnetite-big
 
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

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.

Meteorwrongs

Visit the meteorwrongs photo gallery at Washington University in St. Louis, and the Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory in Portland, to view some examples of meteorite impostors.

If you answered "yes" to all the quiz questions…
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.

We encourage you to contact your State Geological Survey office, the Geology department of a local university or college, or your local museum of natural history for help identifying your specimen. In addition, The Field Museum's Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies in Chicago has an identification program.

Need more information?
Please refer to our FAQ section for a list of Frequently Asked Questions.
 

Comments are closed.

Facebook
Twitter
YouTube

Sign Up for Center Updates!

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


Postdoctoral Scholar Opportunities!

The Center for Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University invites applications for 2 Postdoctoral Research Associates.  Click here for details!




Meteorite of the Month

Noblesville

August's Meteorite of the Month is Noblesville, an ordinary (H4-6) chondrite that fell in Indiana, the evening of August 1st, 1991. According to the Meteoritical Bulletin (MB 72): "The stone …


Upcoming Events

August 2017
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
July 30, 2017 July 31, 2017 August 1, 2017 August 2, 2017 August 3, 2017 August 4, 2017 August 5, 2017
August 6, 2017 August 7, 2017 August 8, 2017 August 9, 2017 August 10, 2017 August 11, 2017 August 12, 2017
August 13, 2017 August 14, 2017 August 15, 2017 August 16, 2017 August 17, 2017 August 18, 2017 August 19, 2017
August 20, 2017 August 21, 2017

Celebrate the Solar Eclipse at ASU!

Celebrate the Solar Eclipse at ASU!
August 22, 2017 August 23, 2017 August 24, 2017 August 25, 2017 August 26, 2017
August 27, 2017 August 28, 2017 August 29, 2017 August 30, 2017 August 31, 2017 September 1, 2017 September 2, 2017