Meteorite types

Almost all meteorites come from the asteroid belts between Mars and Jupiter but there are a few exceptions; mainly meteorites from Mars and the Moon.

Meteorites are classified into several groups, which are related to the origin of the meteorite and its composition. The main types are: stony meteorites – these are further subdivided into chondrites formed by the accumulation of cosmic "dust" that has gradually accumulated over billions of years. The diameter of such a meteorite can measure hundreds of metres. Inside, you will see small grains of dust particles called chondrules.

A very interesting subgroup is represented by the rare carbonaceous chondrites rich in water and a number of organic compounds and are thus often referred to as the possible origin of life on our planet. After passing through the Earth’s atmosphere, chondrites usually have a very nice black crust. Among the most famous ones are the Chelyabinsk meteorite, the Allende or Aguas Zarcas meteorite, which is one of the few to contain the aforementioned basic building blocks of life. The second type of stony meteorites are achondrites, which come from planets or asteroids. This means, e.g. from the Moon, Mars and often also from the asteroid Vesta (the second heaviest asteroid in the Solar System), or from long extinct planets. These include, for example, the fascinating ERCH CHECH 002, NWA 7831 and Hassi Messaoud 001. Iron meteorites (siderites) - most of them come from the very core of ancient, no longer existing planets, destroyed in major collisions, often billions of years ago. These meteorites are composed of iron, nickel and other materials, often precious metals. Muonionalusta, Campo del Cielo or Canyon Diablo, are well known, to name a few. The beautiful Widmanstätten patterns in these meteorites are the basis for unambiguously determining the authenticity of the meteorite.

The rarest type of meteorites are the pallasites (stony-iron meteorites); mostly, they are thought to have formed at the core/mantle boundary of the asteroid when it was destroyed or during a large impact. They are mainly comprised of iron and olivine, which gives them a unique appearance, making them one of the most beautiful and sought-after meteorites. The pallasites account for less than 1% of all meteorites. Fukang, Imilac and Esquel are among the most attractive meteorites.

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