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Meteorites in your Gutter


Si W
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Hi all

Is there a specific test I could run in my kitchen/shed/garage that would allow a degreee of confidence that what is being found on the end of the magnet is meteoritic in origin ?

cheers

Mike

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If you have a microscope or access to one that would be the best way, under magnification the micrometeorites will appear like round little balls with little pitted areas. You may be able to use a good magnifying glass as well.

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Hi all

Is there a specific test I could run in my kitchen/shed/garage that would allow a degreee of confidence that what is being found on the end of the magnet is meteoritic in origin ?

cheers

Mike

Not really to be honest.

The only way to be sure it's of meteoric origin is to submit it to a recognised lab for analysis. In the UK I believe these are the people to contact:

The Meteoritical Society: Research and Education on Meteorites and Extraterrestrial Materials

Edited by John
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You are welcome to come and clean my gutters for me SI and you can keep what you find :p

John.

;):D:D:DLOL,

Same here!

No worries chaps, when i find that Mars Rock, or Moon Rock i'll send you a post card from my tropical Holiday :D.

Alright them, i'll buy you both a pint :D

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To test that the material is meteoritic in origin, one classic way is to test for nickel (5 to 25%) as other sources of iron likely to be found in your gutter or dropping out of the atmosphere (eg from a coal-fired power station) do not contain as much nickel.

If you haven't got an ICP or electron microscope in your garage, there are some old-fashioned chemical spot tests which could be used....hard work though!

Chris

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What, you don't have a mass-spectrograph in your garage??!!:D:D

There is some useful information here Meteorite Junction • View topic - Testing for nickel content

There are some warnings that almost all iron contains nickel at some level. One problem is Nickel does not show up in a simple flame test.

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To demonstrate extraterrestrial origin tests also have to be done to measure formation date and cosmic ray exposure (CRE) time. Compex stuff. It often takes many months for the labs to identify new finds.

Most meteoritic material has a formation date of around 4.55 billion years. Lunar and Martian samples (particularly the latter) can be younger - as "young" as 1.5 billion years I believe.

CRE times can vary from dozens to many thousands of years - this is the measure of how long the material was floating around in space before falling to Earth.

There is also the Terrestrial age which is how long the material has been laying on the Earth - some go back tens of thousands of years. They reckon in that a UK fall will not last more than a few months in a recogisable state because of our climate. Thats why deserts are the best place to look for meteorites :D

Edited by John
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To demonstrate extraterrestrial origin tests also have to be done to measure formation date and cosmic ray exposure (CRE) time. Compex stuff. It often takes many months for the labs to identify new finds.

Most meteoritic material has a formation date of around 4.55 billion years. Lunar and Martian samples (particularly the latter) can be younger - as "young" as 1.5 billion years I believe.

CRE times can vary from dozens to many thousands of years - this is the measure of how long the material was floating around in space before falling to Earth.

There is also the Terrestrial age which is how long the material has been laying on the Earth - some go back tens of thousands of years. They reckon in that a UK fall will not last more than a few months in a recogisable state because of our climate. Thats why deserts are the best place to look for meteorites :D

Of course the CRE is needed for real confirmation, but the presence of a fair amount (rather than trace) of nickel give an idea of whether it is a good candidate.

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Of course the CRE is needed for real confirmation, but the presence of a fair amount (rather than trace) of nickel give an idea of whether it is a good candidate.

For ordinary chrondrites, mesosiderites, pallasites and, obviously, the irons, that's fine.

It could though lead to discarding some of the rarest and most interesting types which have little or no nickel iron content such as cabonaceous chrondrites and achondrites which include material of Lunar and Martian origin.

Edited by John
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For ordinary chrondrites, mesosiderites, pallasites and, obviously, the irons, that's fine.

It could though lead to discarding some of the rarest and most interesting types which have little or no nickel iron content such as cabonaceous chrondrites and achondrites which include material of Lunar and Martian origin.

True, but those would not be found with the magnet easily;). Given we are talking micro-meteorite dust accumulating on rooftops, finding that type amongst all the bird droppings and the like will be hard.

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If you live in the Barwell (Leics) area it might be worth trawling your gutters. They reckon over half the 1965 fall is still unaccounted for. The meteorite fragmented as it entered the atmosphere. It's an L6 Chrondrite so will respond to a magnet. The retail price is around $100 per gram if that's an incentive :D

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If you live in the Barwell (Leics) area it might be worth trawling your gutters. They reckon over half the 1965 fall is still unaccounted for. The meteorite fragmented as it entered the atmosphere. It's an L6 Chrondrite so will respond to a magnet. The retail price is around $100 per gram if that's an incentive :D

I can see Barwell from here at work !!

wonder if anyone will miss me for a hour or two ...........

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i saw this on tv somewhere

if i remember correctly the presenter jet washed his roof and filtered all the water out of a drain pipe and showed the veiwer just how many meteorites were on an average householders roof........

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