Think you've got a meteorite?
Please follow these steps
Step 1. Check out the rest of this web site. You should look through "How to identify a meteorite", "Meteor-wrongs", and our "Interactive meteorite identification exercise". Keep in mind that meteorites are rare, so your sample is most likely a "meteor-wrong". Most of the rocks that people mistake for meteorites fall into one of the same basic types we show on the meteor-wrong page.
Step 2. If you still believe you have a meteorite, please contact one of the members of CML-- either Melinda Hutson or Dick Pugh depending on circumstance (see below).
Please remember that we do meteorite identification as a service to the public, and we currently volunteer our time. We get many public inquiries (multiple dozens per week), so please respect our time, please follow step 1 before steps 2 and 3 above, and please do not contact more than one of us.
About digital images
About samples mailed to us
What we will do
1) We will examine your sample by visual inspection for free. For most samples and with good quality images, we can determine whether the sample is a meteorite or not by visual inspection alone. For a few samples, the only way for us to make a determination is to do a more detailed analysis of the sample.
2) If we determine that a sample is a new meteorite, we are prepared to classify the sample. However, we will need detailed information about the sample. We will also require a donation to CML/Portland State University of sufficient sample to analyze it and to fulfill the minimum requirements of the Nomenclature Committee of the Meteoritical Society. These requirements can be found on the meteorite nomenclature guidelines page of the Society. Regarding type specimens:
As CML is science-based, we believe strongly in the importance of preserving material for future research and may, depending on the total amount of material that was recovered, request the donation of material above the minimum level required by the Nomenclature Committee, consistent with the recommended values given above.
As our time is limited, we may decline pursuing a meteorite classification for any reason. We will only pursue research on new meteorites if we are interested in doing so.
What we won't do
1) We do not provide "Certificates of Authenticity". For samples we study, we will send you a letter on our letterhead stating our opinion of your sample and describing any analytical results.
2) We will not spend time analyzing a sample that we believe to be a terrestrial (Earth) rock.
3) We cannot appraise samples for monetary value (meteorite or not).
4) We will not return your sample if it not a meteorite. We receive far too many "meteor-wrongs" to mail them all back.
Page last modified January 14, 2014