Where can I Find Meteorites?

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  • Written By: Michael Anissimov
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2019
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Meteorites can theoretically be found in any true desert or anywhere on a perennial glacier, especially the entire continent of Antarctica. Meteorite hunting can actually be taken up by anyone as a hobby by using a metal detector in a known strewnfield (a region with numerous meteorites that are fragments of a parent body). There are known strewnfields in many deserts around the world, for instance the Fraconia Meteorite Strewnfield in Arizona.

Meteorites have a different name depending on the circumstances by which they were found -- when the descent of a meteorite is witnessed and the object is later recovered, that is known as a fall. When the meteorite is just found on the ground with no prior reports of it in the process of falling, that is just called a find. In all, there are about 1,050 witnessed falls, and over 31,000 well-documented finds. Meteorites are always named after the place where they were found.

The most common types of meteorite is stony chondrites, named for the little spheres that are their primary constituent. These millimeter-across spheres originated as molten droplets in the earliest days of the solar system before they aggregated into larger asteroids. 27,000 of all found meteorites are chondrites, and many of them have a high iron-nickel content, making it possible to find them with a metal detector. The only downside to these meteorites is that they do not look like obvious meteorites to the untrained eye.


The meteorites that have the more typical "meteorite" look are iron meteorites, which represent about 6% of all found meteorites. These are among the most famous, and the largest known, with the largest being the Hoba meteorite in Namibia, with a length of 2.7 meters (8 ft 9 in) and a weight of 60 tons. The Hoba meteorite is the largest naturally occurring piece of iron on the Earth's surface. Altogether, iron meteorites make up about 90% of the mass of all known meteorites.


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