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Meteorite or Meteorwrong?

Is that neat rock you found a meteorite? Probably not, but to be sure, you might want to use this handy flowchart by Randy L. Korotev of the Washington University Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. It was adapted from a simpler chart from Deborah Guedes. But if you want a really simple chart, check out Randall Munroe’s version. -via Boing Boing


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I've had more than one geologist friend mention getting a dozen or more people a year asking them to identify a meteorite, and yet have only seen such people bring an actual meteor once or twice over their decades long career. A fraction of the people argue back when told it is not a meteor, occasionally devolved into insisting it fell from the sky for one reason or another and is hence obviously a meteorite. One has to wonder why if it was so obvious, they needed to check with a geologist.

But it is funny how common and similar such stories are among geologists that have any sort of public enough role (e.g. college or university professor).
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I've seen some shooting stars. I'd never be able to find where they landed. Here's a snip from Korotev's page about meteorite identification.

I have heard many wonderful stories from people who swear that they saw the rock fall, that the rock wasn’t in their driveway yesterday, or that it split their tree in two. I can’t explain how your rock got to be where you found it, but I can say that it is not a meteorite. [Every rock that someone has described as “it wasn’t there yesterday” was just the right size for throwing. Really.] Not everything that falls from the sky is a meteorite.
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