24Mar2019

Where To Find Meteorites Around Your Home

Chances are your house has been hit by a few thousand micrometeorites, and you’ll be able to find a few if you know the secret place to look. The next time it rains try this little trick.

Every day tons of meteorite material fall from the sky

Place a bucket under a drain spout in order to collect a good quantity of rain. Get rid of the leaves and roofing materials and then sift the remains through a bit of old window screen. What you’re after is so small that you’ll need a very strong magnet (neodymium magnet) to find them. Use this super-strong magnet to determine if any of the remaining particles contain iron. Those particles may be space dust, also known as micrometeorites. Let’s examine all this in more detail.

There’s just something about a good science fiction storyline that grabs the imagination of a kid whether that kid is nine or ninety years old.  That’s where micrometeorites can serve a great purpose.  That’s right, I said micrometeorites.  These are tiny meteorites that have survived the passage from space, through Earth’s atmosphere, and finally to your own lawn.

Most people never have the opportunity to see, or for that matter find, a meteorite.  These people often also have no clue of the tiny ones that strike us in the head as fine grains of iron and other minerals that just an hour earlier were hurling through space at thousands of miles per hour.

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Tiny pieces of actual meteoric material

Micrometeorites are small fragments of larger meteorites that have broken apart during entry into Earth’s atmosphere.  They are really quite easy to find, especially in areas where rain occurs more than just a few times per year.  Micrometeorites are found in deserts as well, but finding them becomes more difficult.

Rain allows them to be rinsed from the roof of a house and concentrated wherever the gutters empty.  No or little rain means less gutter deposits.   So, how do we begin collecting these cool nuggets of science fact?  Grab a Ziploc bag, a small magnet, a spoon or small spade, and a wide-eyed little boy or girl.  Prepare to discover something just as cool as a good sci-fi flick.

To begin, go outside and find the spillway of one of your house gutters.  There is normally a patch of dirt and somewhat rocky-looking debris.  Scoop a small sample of this into the Ziploc bag with the spoon.  Take the sample to the deck or inside the house; just be certain you have a good work area to begin your exploration of the sample.  Dump the sample onto a paper plate or paper towel.  If the sample is wet, allow it to dry for a few minutes.  Once dry, take the magnet and pass it over the sample.  Be careful to avoid touching the sample directly.

What you are looking for are small rock-like particles which will begin to “leap” onto the magnet.  These little rocks are made up of mostly iron, an element not normally found on top of the soil.  It is, however, a primary ingredient in most micrometeorites.  Congratulations!  You have now discovered your own little samples of out-of-this-world rocks.  If for some reason you did not find any micrometeorites, try another location using the same technique.  Eventually, you will find some.  It’s a great way to spend a couple of hours teaching your kids a little science.  Eat your heart out, Mr. Spock!

Source: Science Teacher Man

How Much Is A Meteorite Worth?

A Guide to Buying, Selling and Collecting Meteorites
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It seems hardly a day goes by at the Aerolite Meteorites offices without someone telephoning or emailing us to ask “How much is a meteorite worth?” Sometimes it is someone who thinks he or she might have found a meteorite; sometimes it is a person interested in starting a meteorite collection.There is no easy answer, and one might just as well ask how much a piece of jewelry is worth, or what is the value of an original piece of art. The answer could be a few dollars, or a few thousand.

METEORITE VALUES

The value of a meteorite is typically determined by many different factors, including rarity of type, condition, size, and aesthetic appeal. In most cases, a meteorite that has been properly classified and named by a recognized academic institution has a higher monetary value than an unclassified specimen.This is partly due to the fact that once a new meteorite has been studied and accepted into the existing body of scientific literature, it has a pedigree and provenance, and any prospective buyer can read details about that meteorite in a recognized academic publication, such at The Meteoritical Bulletin. It is also important to make new finds available to the scientific community for study.

HOW MUCH DOES A METEORITE COST?

At the low end of the pricing scale are ordinary chondrites. All meteorites are rare, so the term “ordinary” can be a little misleading to the beginning collector. Ordinary chondrites, or OCs, are the most abundant type of meteorite, but they are still much rarer than gold. Chondrites contain chondrules, which pre-date the formation of the solar system we know today. Chondrites were once part of the crust of a large asteroid or planet, and are undifferentiated. In other words, their ancient chondrules have not been altered by heat or pressure.

During the 1990s large numbers of ordinary chondrites (along with rarer types of meteorites) were found in the hot deserts of North Africa. Many of these stones were discovered by wandering nomads, so the exact find locations will never be known. Stones that were found in the African deserst and have not been studied by academia are described as unclassified Northwest African stones, or NWA XXX. Meteorites are typically sold by weight, and dealers use the metric systems of weights and measures. Nice examples of NWA stones can be purchased for about US$0.50 to $1.00 per gram. Complete stones that were not damaged on impact, or by subsequent weathering, or freshly fallen stones exhibiting a black fusion crust are typically more valuable.

Meteorites that were seen to fall to earth by a credible observer are described as witnessed falls, and they usually command a higher price on the collectors’ market than finds. Witnessed falls, and rare and some collectors are particularly interested in owning a meteorite that fell on his or her birthday.

Popular examples of witnessed falls include the Gao-Guenie stone meteorite, which fell in Burkina Faso, Africa in 1960 and the Millbillillie meteorite, a very rare type of achondrite known as a eucrite. Attractive Gao-Guenie specimens usually retail for about $2/gram, while high quality Millbillillies are worth about $25/gram. Eucrites are essentially volcanic rocks that originate from a large asteroid, and they do not contain chondrules.

COLLECTING IRON METEORITES

Iron meteorites were once part of the molten core of a large planet or asteroid, and often exhibit fantastic shapes created as they flew, melting through our atmosphere. One of the most popular irons among collectors is the Campo del Cielo iron meteorite from Argentina. Enthusiasts nickname them “Campos,” and a nice hand specimen can easily be obtained for $100 or less.

HAVE YOU FOUND A METEORITE?
If you are reading this page because you think you may have found a meteorite, and would like to sell it, PLEASE read our Guide to Meteorite Identification and follow the instructions on that page BEFORE YOU CONTACT US.

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