Meteorite Identifications

The two meteorites shown above are part of the Field Museum's collection. Upper image: stony meteorite Homestead (ordinary chondrite L5). Lower image: iron meteorite Odessa (IAB main group). Photographer Credit: John Weinstein, GEO86367_02d and GN91195_10Ad.

If you think you have found a meteorite you are at the right place. Before you continue, please carefully read what most meteorites look like prepared by our colleagues at Arizona State University. The two meteorites shown below are part of the Field Museum's collection.

Please check if you can answer the following questions regarding your specimen with a “yes”.

1. Fusion crust?
Does the specimen have a smooth dark (black or brown) surface with no holes in it?
❒ Yes. ❒ No.

2. Higher Density?
Is the specimen heavier than a common rock of the same size?
❒ Yes. ❒ No.

3. Composition
3.1. Metal?
Is the specimen made out of compact metal?
❒ Yes. ❒ No.

3.2. Rock?
Is the specimen made out of compact rock but shows small metallic inclusions on a freshly cut and polished surface?
❒ Yes. ❒ No.

1x no: No meteorite:
If you answer any of the questions 1 to 3 with a “no” your specimen is probably not a meteorite. Meteorites are extremely rare and there are many look-alikes, called “meteorwrongs”, some examples can be seen at our colleagues' page at Washington University of St. Louis.

3x "yes": Maybe a meteorite
If you have answered all of the five questions with a “yes”, your specimen has properties shared with most meteorites, however, it still might be a terrestrial rock. To verify if it is a meteorite we need to analyze the specimen or a piece of it at least 1 inch in diameter. We would be happy to take a closer look.

New: Don't use a magnet as this destroys much of the preserved natural magnetism in meteorites. This would compromise the use for science.

We can only accept specimens sent in by mail or courier, and only when accompanied by a the signed identification request form that can be downloaded below. We thank the ASU Center for Meteorite Studies for allowing us to adapt their form.

Important: Please enclose a self-addressed envelope with the correct postage for the entire package if you would like us to send your specimen back to you. If no self-addressed envelope is enclosed with the correct postage, the Center will assume you do not desire the return of your specimen, and we will appropriately dispose of the specimen when analysis is complete.
If we think your specimen is a meteorite we will contact you to request permission from you to perform further tests.