Identify your 3 Meteorite Types
Welcome to the world of Meteorites. Well, it's actually a whole galaxy of Meteorites!
Just like there are thousands if not millions of crystals in existence, there are also countless numbers of Meteorites to have landed on earth. How do you identify and categorize them? Which classification does your Meteorite belong in? Which type should you add to your collection?
This is a simple yet educational article that will tell you about the 3 main types of Meteorites we find on the planet. Every single extraterrestrial space rock falls into one of the three categories.
We will also discuss a bonus category, Impactites. These are minerals that are a result of the Meteorite impact, often fusing space material to earth material.
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Why are Meteorites important?
Scientists study meteorites to get important information about our solar system. Most of the evidence we have about the history and chemical composition of the solar system is based on Meteorites.
In crystal healing, Meteorites are important because they are epitomy of metaphysical magic. They come flying down from the stars to brings us energy and beauty we cannot find here on earth. Meteorites help you connect with your Higher Greatness, other realms, and expand your mind. They make interesting collectibles and conversation pieces as well.
What are the 3 Meteorite types?
Scientists have classified meteorites into three groups: Stony, Iron, and Stony-Iron. Within these classes are subclasses, based upon mineral composition.
1. What are Stony Meteorites?
Most Meteorites found on Earth are Stony Meteorites. They consist mostly of Silicate minerals. These Meteorites vary in color and can be fine or coarse grained. Stony Meteorites contain a variety of substances. Chemically, they are different from the rocks of planet Earth.
Stony meteorites are classified into two groups: Chondrites and Achondrites.
- An H class means high iron
- An L class means low iron
- An LL class means low iron AND low overall metal, meaning it has larger grains of sand within
- 1 means the chondrules have been obliterated by the presence of water
- 2 means the chondrules have been changed by the presence of water
- 3 means the chondrules are completely unaltered
- 4 through 7 mean they have gone through thermal metamorphosis, with 7 being the maximum alteration.
Studying Achondrites tells scientists about the structures and formations of planets, including earth. Achondrites make up about 8% of Meteorites, making them quite rare.
Is my Meteorite a Stony Meteorite?
You can look up your Meteorite name online and see what type it is. However, if you have any of the ones listed here, they are Stony Meteorites:
- Eucrite (Achondrite)
- Calate (L6 Chondrite)
- Chelyabinsk (LL5 Chondrite)
- Ochansk (H4 Chondrite)
- Bassikounou (H5 Chondrite)
- Chergach (H5 Chondrite)
- Gao-Guinie (H5 Chondrite)
2. What are Iron Meteorites?
Iron Meteorites are composed mostly of iron but also contain traces of cobalt and nickel. The high iron content make these Meteorites heavy in weight.
When Iron Meteorites are sliced, they show a geometrical pattern called Widmanstatten pattern (more commonly called Thomson structures). These etched patterns are a result of the Meteorite having cooled down very slowly under very high pressure.
Most Iron Meteorites are thought to come from the core of planet bodies that were once molten.
Iron Meteorites can be broken down into 3 subgroups based on nickel content:
Hexahedrites: Low nickel, no Windmanstatten patterns, may have Neumann lines
Octahedrites: Average to high nickel, Windmanstatten patterns. This is the most common classification, and can be further divided from course to finest width of the kamacite lamellae that is present.
Ataxites: Very high nickel, no Windmanstatten patterns. This is very rare.
Only about 5% of Meteorites are Iron Meteorites. Because of their fascinating beauty and interesting etched designs, Iron Meteorites are the most commonly collected.
Is My Meteorite an Iron Meteorite?
You can look up your Meteorite name online and see what type it is. However, if you have any of the ones listed here, they are Iron Meteorites.
- Gibeon (Fine Octahedrite, Group IVA)
- Muonionalusta (Fine Octahedrite, Group IVA)
- Henbury (Medium Octahedrite, Group IIIAB)
- Tartak (Medium Octahedrite, Group IIIAB)
- Campo de Cielo (Course Octahedrite, Group IAB)
- Nantan (Course Octahedrite, Group IAB)
- Uruacu (Course Octahedrite, Group IAB)
- Canyon Diablo (Course Octahedrite, Group IAB)
- Sikhote-Alin (Course Octahedrite, Group IIAB)
- Agoudal (Coursest Octahedrite, Group IIAB)
3. What are Stony-Iron Meteorites?
Stony-Iron meteorites contain both stone and iron. They are the rarest of the three categories. Less than 2% of the Meteorites fall into this type.
Stony-iron Meteorites are divided into two subgroups:
Pallasites: These have a matrix of meteorite iron with embedded silicates
Mesosiderites: These are breccias that show metamorphism, hence the meteoric iron occurs in clasts instead of matrix.
Is My Meteorite a Stony-Iron Meteorite?
You can look up your Meteorite name online and see what type it is. However, if you have any of the ones listed here, they are Stony-Iron Meteorites.
- Seymchan (Pallasite)
- Sericho (Pallasite)
What are Impactites?
The three categories above make up the Meteorite selection on Earth, and scientists are always updating the list of finds according to new discoveries and new Meteorite falls.
There is one more category of extraterrestrial inspired material you should know about, and that's Impactites.
When larger Meteorites hit the Earth's surface, they make an impact upon the landing sight. Catastrophic impacts transform the surface material into new rock types because of the heat and pressure caused by the crashing Meteorite.
Impactites are a type of metamorphic rock. Most impactites are of earthly material, but many contain fragments of the Meteorite that caused their origin.
There are generally 3 types of Impactites:
Shocked Rock: Rocks that have been transformed by the shock of the Meteorite impacting.
Impact Melt: Rocks and soil can become melted by the energy released from the meteor striking the planet's surface. It becomes liquified, and then cools again quickly into a hard, glassy substance. These natural glasses take form before a crystal is formed. If it does have time to crystallize, it's known as impact melt as opposed to impact glass.
Impact Breccias: Rocks become broken by the Meteorite impact, but quickly fuse back together in a mixture of angular fragments. Some of them also contain Impact Melts.
What are Impactites?
You can look up your specimen's name online to find out if it's an Impactite, and of what category. However, if you have any of the ones listed here, they are Impactites
- Black Tektite (Impact Melt: Glass)
- Moldavite (Impact Melt: Glass)
- Libyan Desert Glass (Impact Melt: Glass)
- Nordlinger Ries Crater Suevite (Impact Breccia)
- Ilyinets Crater Suevite (Impact Breccia)
Are you ready for more Meteorites?
Are you ready to choose a galactic piece to call your own? Perhaps you even have several favorite. Head on over to the Satin Crystals Meteorite Collection to find your perfect cosmic crystal. Better yet, shop right here:
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