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Meteorites & Tektites

 

Stoney

Stoney - Iron

Glassy Tektites

Iron

Murchison

iron
 
collecting meteoritescollecting meteorites

The most commonly asked question we are asked is how do we identify a meteorite. To answer this what we must do is look at where a meteorite comes from and the answers become available. Meteorites are pieces of material that have come from outer space. All planets collect meteorites due to the gravitational pull and in most cases these either burn up in the atmosphere or impact the planet.

The theory as to the creating of our galaxy is varied but in all cases planets and suns were formed with huge amounts of free floating debris that eventual combined to make suns, planets, asteroid fields and comets. These objects massive to us but simple specks of dust in the overall scheme of the universe are always in movement with regular collisions sending fragments sometimes larger than planets in new directions. These fragments may travel in a straight line for millions of years or the may enter a solar system and be captured in a gravitational field to become a comet or impact into the sun or a plant sometimes creating new meteorites. Most meteorites when created are extremely hot and are in a molten state. When they solidify they form unique crystalline structures in the matrix of the meteorite hence making them easily identifiable from material solidified in a gravity influenced environment. These structures are varied depending on the type of material present in the meteorite.

Another method of identifying meteorites is from the presents of unusual levels of minerals in levels that are not found on this planet or in the area of discovery. Iron meteorites are often discovered as iron is not found in its un-oxidized state on the planets surface. A mass of iron exposed to the atmosphere will become a pile of rust after a few million years and hence most metal objects that are not man made on the surface of the planet could be meteoric. Stone meteorites are very difficult to identify and are mostly discovered in areas where the natural stone is different from the meteorite further testing often identifies the specimen at a later stage. Glass meteorites are easily distinguished as they tend to partially melt while entering the atmosphere and form melted patterns when they re-harden.

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