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Meteorite Identification on



99% of all meteorites are attracted to a magnet on a string. (As are metal artifacts and iron ore) This is used as a preliminary test and is recommended to new collectors. However, meteorite hunters use a different method. Instead of a magnet, they use a compass needle to determine magnetic attraction. Why? A magnet will corrupt or change the magnetic field of a meteorite. (destroying research info)

Note: Samples passing this test are not necessarily meteorites.


Iron ore is the most common meteor-wrong. Magnetite especially is very magnetic (hence its name) and hematite is mildly magnetic. Fortunately... both these minerals can be very readily distinguished from meteoritic material by a characteristic known as their streak. You can test the streak very simply. If you take a common ceramic tile, such as a bathroom or kitchen tile, it has a smooth glazed slide and an unfinished dull side which is stuck to the wall when installed. Take the sample which you think is a meteorite and scratch it quite vigorously on the unglazed side of the tile. If it leaves a black gray streak (like a soft leaded pencil) the sample is almost certainly magnetite, and if it leaves a vivid red to brown streak it is almost certainly hematite. A meteorite, unless it is very heavily weathered will not leave a streak on the tile.

You say that you don't have a ceramic tile? You can also use the inside of your toilet tank cover. (the heavy rectangular lid on top of the tank) It is heavy, so be careful.

Note: Samples passing this test are not necessarily meteorites.


All iron meteorites contain nickel. Most stone meteorites contain nickel. Thus, a chemical test for nickel is definitive for meteorites 99% of the time. Caution should be taken as acid is used in the test.

Note: Samples passing this test are most likely meteorites.