What to Do If You Think That You’ve Found a Meteorite
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.
If, after checking the different lists, flowcharts, and pictures, you are still convinced that the rock you found is a meteorite, please send me an email with pictures. Please do not come to my office without contacting me prior. In addition, Please note that any unsolicited specimen sent to UNLV or our department will not be returned. UNLV does not accept any liability for unsolicited samples.