How to Find a Meteorite

Meteorites fall on earth every day, although most fall out of reach to people or are microscopic. But within the visible range, it's not impossible to find one.


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    Know what a meteorite looks like and what are its properties, so that you can easily distinguish one from every other rock. There are 3 major types of meteorites: stony, iron, and stony-irons, but there are usually a few properties that apply to most meteorites, although they might be hard to recognize. Some of the properties that make a meteorite distinguishable are:
    • They are black and or dark brown, burnt from their speedy entrance into the atmosphere when their exterior melts.
    • They have a solid like metal feel to them, as opposed to the "crumbly" feel of normal rocks.
    • They all set off metal detectors due to their high metal content except for planetary originated meteorites such as those from the moon or mars.
    • They are ferromagnetic, meaning a magnet will be attracted to them either lightly or strongly (although Martian and lunar meteorites are exceptions to this characteristic)
  2. Image titled Find a Meteorite Step 2
    Know where to look. As mentioned in the introduction, meteorites fall everywhere on earth, ( some experts agree that on average in any square mile of land there is one visible meteorite )but where are you most likely to spot one is from the background landscape. That would be in a semiarid to arid environment, i.e. a desert or dry lake bed. Still, that does not mean that you won't find one in your area. During a meteor shower, meteorites are more likely to fall, meaning you could actually see the meteorite falling!
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    Practice. Think about the rock's origins or what it is made of. This can become a lifelong hobby if you let it!


  • Go to a museum and familiarize yourself with meteorites.
  • Meteorites don't contain quartz, but some do have yellow-greenish colored crystals which are formed by iron-nickel.
  • If there is not one near you can go on an online auction site - most real ones for sale have classifications.
  • You may come across Tektites, these are not meteorites but are formed from impacts of large meteorites which melt the surrounding ground on impact and shoot these things off.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal detector
  • Rare earth magnets

Article Info

Categories: Astronomy