Outreach

Meteorite Identifications

Due to the pandemic-related restrictions our ID request service is currently suspended. We invite you to visit the Field Museum during ID day, usually scheduled in the Fall, after the pandemic.

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.

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