What to Do If You Think That You’ve Found a Meteorite
Note that the UNLV Department of Geoscience does not conduct rock or meteorites ID anymore. Thus do not contact UNLV faculty or students but feel free to contact other universities.
Do you think you found a meteorite? Here are the different steps to take:
- Check the statistics about meteorite finds: The chances that you found a meteorite are extremely low. The chances that you found a meteorite from Mars or the Moon are even smaller “Less that 1800 meteorites have been found in the United States in the past 200 years. Less than 1 in 1000 of all known meteorites are from the Moon, and the number is about the same for Mars. No lunar meteorite has yet to be found in the temperate environment of North America or Europe; all were found in deserts of drier continents.” Please check the statistics described by Randy Korotev here.
- Check the self-test check-list that Randy Korotev from WashU has created here and follow this chart (from adaptation of flowchart devised by Deborah Guedes and colleagues in Brazil) to determine if you are in possession of a meteorite or not:
- Most people in Nevada find slag, which can be easily mistaken for a meteorite. Slag usually refers to a glassy by-product of smelting ore to retrieve the metal. Here are several pictures of slag.
- Find here pictures of meteorwrongs
- Check the Facebook page of Mendy Ouzillou: Meteorite or Meteorwrong. This group is dedicated to helping people identifying whether they have a meteorite or terrestrial stone often called a meteorwrong by the meteorite community.