Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How do you identify meteorites?

  1. Nov 27, 2008 #1


    User Avatar

    Following on from a couple of recent topics on meteors and fireballs got me thinking. how do you tell the difference between ordinary stones/rocks and meteors?


    (Sorry if this is the wrong area to post)
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 27, 2008 #2
    meteor in the sky, meteorite on the ground

    burned melted or hi iron content [ lots are found with metal detectors]
    chemical content of meteorites differs from normal earth rocks
  4. Nov 29, 2008 #3

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2015 Award

    TFM, many (I believe most, in fact) identified meteorites come from Antarctica. It's not because meteorites have a preference for landing there, it's because if you find a rock on top of two miles of ice, you're pretty sure it came from the sky. That's not so obvious if it lands in a more temperate region among terrestrial rocks, where it takes an expert to tell - particularly if nobody saw it fall.
  5. Nov 29, 2008 #4


    User Avatar

    Thanks everyone. now you mention it, I do think I recall somewhere about meteorites being mainly found in Antartica. So the 'best' hope (other then a trip to Antartica) is to use a metal detector, and looks like it has been burned/scorched marks.

    Thanks again,

Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: How do you identify meteorites?