No Virginia, these aren't meteorites

"Meteor-wrongs": Here at the Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory, we
frequently see samples that lay-people believe might be meteorites, but which
are not.  Below is a list of common "meteor-wrongs".

SLAG (below): Slag is a nonmetallic product of the smelting and refining of metals.
Slag can have shiny surfaces (left) or a bubbly texture (right).

IRON OXIDES (below):Weathering of iron-bearing rocks on the Earth can
produce iron oxides (hematite) and hydrated iron oxides (limonite/goethite).
Hematite (left and right images immediately below) often has a silvery or
reddish-brown exterior, and always will leave a reddish-brown/maroon streak
on a ceramic plate.  Limonite (lower left and right images) typically has a brownish
or mustard-colored exterior, and always will leave a yellow-brown/mustard streak on
a ceramic plate.  The picture in the upper right shows hematite that has replaced
pyrite, retaining pyrite's cubic crystal structure.  Meteorites will never have cubes
or rectangles sticking out from their surfaces.


Return to main page Return to about meteorites


Page last modified December 2, 2010