How Do We Authenticate Meteorites?
Scientific protocol. The scientific
community has well-established guidelines to verify, classify, and officially
document new meteorites. This process requires specialized analytical
equipment and can be both expensive and time-consuming. Many meteorite labs
charge for the classification service,
and most labs are backlogged by one year or more due to the large quantities of meteorites
currently being found in African and American deserts.
Sadly, some public institutions have recently closed their meteorite identification
service due to lack of funding.
sample proves to be a meteorite, we can
guide you through the
classification/documentation process. When
classification is complete, the meteorite's
characteristics (mass, town of
discovery, chemical properties, etc) are
published in the Meteoritical Society's
Bulletin". Some meteorite finders
enjoy receiving formal
acknowledgment for their discoveries and
elect to have their names published in
the write-up. In
contrast, some finders
prefer anonymity and this request can always be respected.
As per Meteoritical Society rules, you will need to donate either 20
grams or 20% (whichever is smaller) to the laboratory that performs the classification.
Meteorites are named after the town or other geographic feature nearest to the
find location. For example, the Allende meteorite fell near the Mexican
pueblo of Allende, and the Canyon Diablo meteorites were found near the
canyon of its namesake in Arizona. Meteorites often fragment into
smaller pieces during atmospheric flight, and specimens from the same fall are christened with the same name.