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meteorite hunting with magnets

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I've never hunted for meteorites so I was wondering How magnets are used in the process? Should a person use a detector to get close then the magnet to pull it out of the dirt? Or, just search with the magnet? How strong a magnet is needed? Thanks, Bill

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Hi Bill,

Most meteorites have a certain amount of iron/nickel in them, some more than others. This is why they are attracted to a strong Neodymium Rare Earth magnet.

When hunting for meteorites from a fresh fall like the recent Wisconsin fireball, a Neodymium Rare Earth magnet attached to a pole would be the preferred method. These meteorites would be laying on top of the ground and easy to spot by their black fusion crust. As most hunters found out, not all the black rocks they came across were meteorites. Thats where having a magnet on a pole became the true test.

While hunting for an old fall that may be partially or completely buried, using a metal detector would be the preferred tool. The meteorites would be weathered and in most cases they would look the same as a terrestrial rock. In this case after getting a target with your metal detector, a Neodymium Rare Earth magnet attached to your digging tool would attract the meteorite during the digging process. In general, it is always a good idea to have a magnet attached to your digging tool while metal detecting because it will save you time by attracting ferrous trash.

Another thing to remember about Neodymium Rare Earth magnets, they can be dangerous. When working with two or more Neodymium Rare Earth magnets, it is recommended to keep them at least 2 feet away from each other. I recommend a 1" x 2" x .25" block Neodymium Rare Earth magnet with 37 lbs. of pull force. I have found that they attract well to a L4 - L6 Chondrites (L stands for low iron) and are easier to work with than more powerful magnets. If more power is needed, you can double up with two magnets to give you 74 lbs. of pull force.

Please visit my Find A Meteorite Ebay store (click link below) to find these magnets and other essential meteorite hunting stuff.


Dale R.

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  • 1 month later...

Hey Dale, thanks for holding my hand on this subject. I think I can go out now and not look like a goofball. Thanks, Bill

Not look like a goofball? I thought that was part of the fun, wandering aimlessly around the desert waiving your arms from side to side. lol.

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