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The 3 Types of Meteorites

hand holding up three meteorites - black tektite, yellow libyan desert glass and green moldavite stones

What is a Meteorite?

Meteorites are stones from outer space that entered into the Earth's atmosphere and survived as solid substances. Once a stone mass lands on the planet's surface, they are called meteorites.

Most meteorites originate from collisions between two asteroids, though some can come as debris from other planets or comets of our solar system. To learn about how a they are created, visit Meteorite vs Meteor vs Meteoroid, In Simple Terms.

Why are Meteorites Important?

Scientists study meteorites to get information about the solar system. Most of the evidence we have about the history and chemical composition of the solar system is based on meteorites.

What are the Three Types of Meteorites?

Scientists have classified meteorites into three groups: Stony, Iron, and Stony-Iron. 

1. Stony Meteorites

Stony meteorites are sometimes just called stone meteorites. 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. Eighty six percent of Meteorites fall in the Chondrite class, which are considered the building blocks of the planets. Achondrites make up about eight percent of Meteorites.

Stony Meteorites for sale at Satin Crystals include:

  • Bassikounou (H5 Chondrite)

  • Chelyabins (LL5 Chondrite)

  • Chergach (H5 Chondrite)

  • Eucrite (Achondrite)

  • Gao Guinie (H5 Chondrite)

  • Ochansk (H4 Chondrite) 

    2. Iron Meteorites

    Iron meteorites are composed mostly of iron, though they 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, octahedrites, and ataxites. Only about 5 percent of meteorites are iron meteorites.

    Because of their fascinating beauty and interesting etched designs, Iron Meteorites are the most commonly collected.

    Iron Meteorites for sale at Satin Crystals include:

    • Agoudal (Courest Octahedrite, Group IIAB)

    • Campo de Cielo (Octahedrite, Group IAB)

    • Gibeon ((Fine Octahedrite, Group IVA)

    • Henbury (Octahedrite, Group IIIAB

    • Muonionalusta (Fine Octahedrite, Group IVA)

    • Nantan (Octahedrite, Group IAB)

    • Sikhote-Alin (Courest Octahedrite, Group IIAB)

    • Tartak (Octahedrite, Group IIIAB)

    • Uruacu (Octahedrite, Group IAB)

    3. Stony-Iron Meteorites

    Stony-iron meteorites contain both stone and iron. They are the rarest of the three categories. Stony-iron meteorites are divided into two subgroups: mesosiderites and pallasites. Less than 2 percent of the meteorites fall into this type.

    Stony Iron Meteorites for sale at Satin Crystals include:

    • Seymchan: Pallasite

    • Sericho: Pallasite

    A Bonus Meteorite Category

      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 we offer at Satin Crystals that must also be mentioned. That is Impactites.

      What is an Impactite?

      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. Therefore, impactites are a type of metamorphic rock.

      Most impactites are of Earthly material, but many contain fragments of the meteorite that caused their origin.

      Meteorite Inspired Impactites for sale at Satin Crystals:

      • Libyan Desert Glass

      • Moldavite

      • Nordlinger Ries Crater

      • Tektite 

      Mad for Meteorites 

      If you are a Meteorite buff like I am, you'll want to head over to our Meteorite Reference Guide and learn about all the different space stones that have flown through our shop and into your homes.

      Plus, check out Satin Crystals' entire selection of Meteorites for Sale. We constantly update our extraterrestrial offerings. Meteorites are a top seller at Satin Crystals, constantly flying in and out of stock.


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