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TravelFelix

IS THIS A METEORITE?

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I'm new here so first of all hello to everyone!

Right know I'm travelling Mexico and there is this story that might interest some of you 😁

So I was in Mexico city at a flea market and stumbled across this guy selling meteorites he claimed to have found in a valley in the desert not far from Mexico city with a metal detector. One of them looked really promising so I bought it and now I want your opinion if this could be a meteorite! 

So here are the facts I have:

-the stone is magnetic

-if you rub it against ceramic the stripe is reddish, brown

-density is about 3.76 g/cm3 but this is not reliable data becaise the things I have for measuring are very limited

 

I would really appreciate it if you could help me out here! Thanks a ton in advance!

All the best,

Felix

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Hello Felix!

It looks and streaks like hematite to me.

File a window in the rock and see what color the streak is beneath the surface. And show us a photo of  the interior matrix. We can probably give you a good idea if it is a suspect meteorite.

Bob

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Just through any oxidized surface so you can get a good look and streak on the interior.

 

I see in that fourth photo where you filed it on the high spot. It is sub-metallic. It is not a meteorite. Sorry.

 

Meteorites form in  vacuum in an oxygen free environment. Meteoritic iron is always a native metallic iron. On earth we have a pressurized oxygen rich environment and iron is always oxidized. So what you have there is oxidized, terrestrial iron.

Free metallic iron is just like steel. Bright, shiny silver iron. Terrestrial iron is at best sub-metallic. Like graphite. Not quite free metal. Dark, leaving a red or grey streak, and darkening a few hours after exposure to the air.

It is the basic test for mineral iron. Meteorites do not leave a streak and free metal leaves a metallic streak. Earthly "iron stones" leave an obvious streak and are not metallic but sub-metallic.

Keep on looking! And if you ever see a rock that looks suspect do this simple test. It won't identify a meteorite but it will identify an earthly mineral every time.

 

Bob 

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Thank you so much for your answer, but obviously I'm a little disappointed... So you're telling me that if I file down just through the surface I have to see shiny metal to at be sure that it's no earthly rock? 

And if I hit a meteorite with a diamond file like I did, it has to leave some kind of streak right?

And aren't there also meteorites that are partly rock? 

Sorry for all the questions but I obviously want it to be a meteorite 😅

Thanks again,

Felix

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I hope you didn't pay much for it.

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Bummer Felix, but i have to agree does not look like it's a meteorite. 

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3 hours ago, TravelFelix said:

Thank you so much for your answer, but obviously I'm a little disappointed... So you're telling me that if I file down just through the surface I have to see shiny metal to at be sure that it's no earthly rock? 

And if I hit a meteorite with a diamond file like I did, it has to leave some kind of streak right?

And aren't there also meteorites that are partly rock? 

Sorry for all the questions but I obviously want it to be a meteorite 😅

Thanks again,

Felix

A meteorite that sticks to a magnet has iron in it. That iron will be free metallic iron. There are all sorts of meteorites but all of them, even the stone meteorites have free metallic iron if they stick to a magnet. 

Some earthly rocks stick to a magnet too. Every one of those will have mineral iron. All earthly iron is mineral unless it is man made steel. So if you see mineral iron it is not a meteorite.

To be clear what I am saying is that if the iron that is attracting the magnet is free metallic iron you cant rule out a meteorite. If the iron that attracts the magnet is mineral you can rule out a meteorite. If it has free iron it is a suspect but not necessarily a meteorite. There is a fine distinction there but an important one.

A streak is a color or hue. This is caused by oxides of minerals. Unoxidized minerals leave a streak of no particular color. Clear, pale tan or blonde with no color or hue. So if you grind a meteorite there will be cuttings. But those cuttings will not reveal a mineral streak of any hue or color. Free metallic iron leaves a faint metallic streak. So meteorites, once you get through the surface crust and oxidation will leave no telltale streak.

All earthy iron will leave a very obvious streak. Red hues or grey hues. Red from blood red to light pink (hematite). From charcoal black to slate grey (magnetite). There are a few other terrestrial minerals that might attract a magnet but they all streak in this range because all terrestrial iron is oxidized. The only exception to this rule is man made steel.

So if you see free metallic iron the only possibilities are a meteorite or a man made artifact. If you see mineral iron the only possibility is a terrestrial stone.

When you look in the window of a stone meteorite you see a matrix of "stuff" in there and flecks of metal. Not a homogenous interior and certainly not sub-metallic oxidized iron. When you look in the window on your stone you see sub-metallic oxidized iron. It must be terrestrial to be mineral iron like this.

I know you want it to be a meteorite! I am very familiar with that feeling! And I hope you find one. But if it sticks to a magnet and streaks in hues of red or grey it is not one. You can use this simple test to weed out about 99% of magnetic stones you find though. And by learning this simple test for mineral iron it will make your task finding a real one much easier.

I know it is a bummer but I hope my explanation makes sense and helps you to find one.

Good luck and have fun in Mexico City. When you are having Tacos Pastor and a big horchata think about me!

Bob

 

 

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Wow I couldn't have hoped for a better answer! Sadly, everything you're saying makes a lot of sense... I guess I'll keep looking and definitely let you know if I eventually find one!

Thank you so much for your help and effort!

Felix

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Bedrock Bob hello the other forum was closed on Hillsboro  I’m an undergraduate NMSU GEOLOGY STUDENT. Who has been out here since I was a kid simply collecting rocks. And now I share the passion with the kiddos.Now I’m older with a love for the land. I have not found any gold in the field or silver. I have been taking them out to the field for two years. I was hoping I could gain access and some guidance to the area. Here’s my email pablooch22@gmail.com. Any help would be a blessing.

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4 minutes ago, Pablo Ore casitas said:

Bedrock Bob hello the other forum was closed on Hillsboro  I’m an undergraduate NMSU GEOLOGY STUDENT. Who has been out here since I was a kid simply collecting rocks. And now I share the passion with the kiddos.Now I’m older with a love for the land. I have not found any gold in the field or silver. I have been taking them out to the field for two years. I was hoping I could gain access and some guidance to the area. Here’s my email pablooch22@gmail.com. Any help would be a blessing.

Pablo! Wonderful to hear from you! 

I will send you an email this evening!

Bob

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Thank you so much sir. I hadn’t been out here for years until recently. I underwent 15 surgeries due to my tour in Afghanistan. So to get any guidance is a blessing. I can’t thank you enough but I can say from one American to another It was an honor serving for the people such as your self that make this nation Great. 

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