How to tell if a rock is a meteorite: a geologist’s guide

As a geologist, one of the questions I am most frequently asked is “how can I tell if a rock is a meteorite?”. While the answer may seem simple – meteorites are rocks that have fallen from space – there are actually a few things that you can look for to help you make the determination.

First, it is important to note that not all meteorites are created equal. There are three main types of meteorites: stony, iron, and stony-iron. As their names imply, stony meteorites are made mostly of stone, iron meteorites are made mostly of iron, and stony-iron meteorites are a mixture of the two.

Second, meteorites are almost always very dark in color. This is due to the fact that they are exposed to the vacuum of space and the intense radiation from the sun, which darkens the rock over time.

Third, meteorites are often very smooth. This is because they have been through a lot of wear and tear as they travel through space.

Fourth, meteorites often have a “fusion crust”. This is a thin layer of rock that has been melted and then cooled. It is caused by the meteorite entering the atmosphere and being heated up by friction.

Finally, meteorites often have a strange shape. This is because they are often irregularly shaped when they first enter the atmosphere and then they are further distorted as they travel through the air and hit the ground.

If you find a rock that you think might be a meteorite, the best thing to do is to take it to a geologist or meteorite expert for further analysis. They will be able to tell you for sure if it is a meteorite or not.

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