How can I tell if an iron-rich meteorite is real?

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Offline Skinner

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Hello all around! I'm new in forum.... so really hope for Your assistance! My friend has found something like real iron meteorite. Some tests shows is so and looks like too, but is not expertised and analised yet.

Very heavy, very magnetic and very tight. Small, but on the same time 14.50 kilos of weight! Cutting of some part comes really difficult and took long time. Some pictures attached...

Any advice ... is or not ?  Many thanks in advance!

P.S. Owner is interested in to sell for reasonable price.
« Last Edit: 14/04/2013 11:01:14 by chris »

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Offline OokieWonderslug

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #1 on: 09/04/2013 22:17:05 »
Rub some acid on the cut part. It crystal patterns show up it is 100% a meteorite.

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Offline RD

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #2 on: 10/04/2013 07:59:38 »
Rub some acid on the cut part. It crystal patterns show up it is 100% a meteorite.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Widmanstätten_pattern

If the cut surface shows parallel layers which do not cross, (not created by the saw), it is not a meteorite,
( if it has layers which are all parallel it has solidified in a strong gravitational field, i.e. on Earth, not in space ).   

P.S. Owner is interested in to sell for reasonable price.

There are a LOT of phony meteorites on t'internet, caveat emptor.

[attachment=17665]

IMO probability #1, (given it's being offered for sale ) a deliberate fake.
A very distant second place, pyrite ... http://meteorites.wustl.edu/meteorwrongs/m078.htm

The alleged meteorite has no regmaglypts, and a few rusted linear channel features which look man-made (disc grinder ?).

IMO the exposed shiny metal is too uniform and featureless to be typical iron meteorite.
« Last Edit: 11/04/2013 12:25:35 by RD »

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Offline Skinner

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #3 on: 10/04/2013 08:58:03 »
Rub some acid on the cut part. It crystal patterns show up it is 100% a meteorite.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Widmanst%C3%A4tten_pattern

If the cut surface shows parallel layers which do not cross, (not created by the saw), it is not a meteorite,
( if it has layers which are all parallel it has solidified in a strong gravitational field, i.e. on Earth, not in space ).   

P.S. Owner is interested in to sell for reasonable price.

There are a LOT of phony meteorites on t'internet, caveat emptor.

IMO probability #1, (given it's being offered for sale ) a deliberate fake.
A  distant second place, pyrite ... http://meteorites.wustl.edu/meteorwrongs/m078.htm
IMO the exposed shiny metal is too uniform and featureless to be an iron meteorite.

Thanks for Your answers! I think is not fake.... it has been found with metal detector and some specialists told already - is real iron meteorite, but owner can't make expertise and chemical analysis here. So he would sell.... and let someone do that, but want be sure is real irion meteorite. He asked me to help to have 100% proof of meteorite and possible selling after. I would show You more photoes... of cutted part too (after it was dunk in acid), but limit of Kb is over for my post. P.S. About shiny one, photo is taken directly after cut.

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Offline Skinner

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #4 on: 10/04/2013 09:20:02 »
additional photo....

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Offline RD

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #5 on: 10/04/2013 09:40:59 »
... I would show You more photoes... of cutted part too (after it was dunk in acid), but limit of Kb is over for my post.

additional photo....

[attachment=17663]

You've only posted a low-resolution 22Kb photo, up to 128Kb is permitted here.
However your blocky 22Kb jpeg is sufficient to show your alleged meteorite has been cast in two halves which have been joined : you can clearly see the ruler-straight join running down the middle [:)]


Quote from: wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand_casting#Basic_process
[attachment=17669]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand_casting#Basic_process
« Last Edit: 10/04/2013 10:14:18 by RD »

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Offline Skinner

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #6 on: 10/04/2013 10:04:50 »
... I would show You more photoes... of cutted part too (after it was dunk in acid), but limit of Kb is over for my post.

additional photo....

[attachment=17663]

You've only posted a low-resolution 22Kb photo, up to 128Kb is permitted here.
However your blocky 22Kb jpeg is sufficient to show your alleged meteorite has been cast in two halves which have been joined : you can clearly see the ruler-straight join running down the middle [:)]

Is not so... absolutely not. It was cutted in 2 parts.... this is the reason. Look at another picture.

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Offline RD

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #7 on: 10/04/2013 13:14:27 »
... Look at another picture.

[attachment=17671]

Added for completeness : my posts now have all the pictures Skinner has posted, just in case they decide to delete their posts.

PS

Skinner's photo "phpy4r3j6AM.jpg" ( the offcut ? ) does not appear to match "AAA.jpg" in this post, they are similar, but not the same, ( made by the same artist ? ).
« Last Edit: 10/04/2013 13:45:22 by RD »

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Offline Skinner

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #8 on: 10/04/2013 13:38:35 »
... Look at another picture.

[attachment=17671]

Added for completeness : my posts now have all the pictures Skinner has posted, just in case they decide to delete their posts.


Dear RD, so You are thinking is fake ??? Incredibly... it can or can not be meteorite.... but it can not be fake ! I hope for opinions from another users too. Many thanks in advance!

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Offline Skinner

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #9 on: 10/04/2013 14:04:11 »
Dear RD,

And how about this (first small offcut)... ??? Again fake ??? C'mon!

Second offcut (bigger one) was made from 2 sides and not merge at the same line and is logical .... after that was dunked in acid for some time! Is reason why looks different!

However, Im happy to hear some opinions.... I don't know is real iron meteorite or not, only I can guaranty for 100% that is not fake !

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Offline RD

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #10 on: 10/04/2013 14:05:23 »
Dear RD, so You are thinking is fake ??? Incredibly... it can or can not be meteorite.... but it can not be fake !

Why can it not be one of the many fake meteorites offered for sale on the internet ? [bottom of page]

To be fair it is a better than average fake: effort has gone into it's manufacture, you've not just picked up a naturally occurring rock and called it a meteorite. However the brushwork on the cut surface is only vaguely like the real McCoy, and the grooves ground into it are way too coarse and too straight to be flow lines.

"=AAA-1.jpg" (copy below) could very well be yet another item from the same production line, ( i.e. different from the first photo of an alleged meteorite in this thread ).

[attachment=17677]
« Last Edit: 10/04/2013 14:36:03 by RD »

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Offline Skinner

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #11 on: 10/04/2013 14:20:54 »
Dear RD, so You are thinking is fake ??? Incredibly... it can or can not be meteorite.... but it can not be fake !

Why can it not be one of the many fake meteorites offered for sale on the internet ? [bottom of page]

To be fair it is a better than average fake, effort has gone into it's manufacture, you've not just picked up a naturally occurring rock and called it a meteorite. However the grooves ground into it are way too coarse and too straight to be flow lines.

It was not offered for sale... nowhere and never ! Only i have mentioned that owner could be interested in to sell... if (when) he will be sure - is real iron meteorite... is big difference and is only reason of this topic at all - not selling but help with identification!

Another one... it was found not on the ground (overground), but in the ground and it is possible stays there for centuries!

P.S. Sorry for my english.... is not my native language!

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Offline Skinner

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #12 on: 10/04/2013 14:28:16 »
Dear RD, so You are thinking is fake ??? Incredibly... it can or can not be meteorite.... but it can not be fake !

Why can it not be one of the many fake meteorites offered for sale on the internet ? [bottom of page]

To be fair it is a better than average fake: effort has gone into it's manufacture, you've not just picked up a naturally occurring rock and called it a meteorite. However the grooves ground into it are way too coarse and too straight to be flow lines.

"=AAA-1.jpg" (copy below) could very well be yet another item from the same production line, ( i.e. different from the first photo of an alleged meteorite in this thread ).

[attachment=17677]

Please stop Your comments... they are not serious more. Your opinion is clear - is not meteorite, but fake.... thanks for Your opinion! Only I can say.... You are very very wrong with Your opinion (about fake). Let's see opinions from another members....

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Offline RD

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #13 on: 10/04/2013 19:10:52 »
Please stop Your comments...

Not until I stop noticing anomalous features of your alleged meteorite, e.g. that the weathering rind is too thick and includes an abnormal concrete-grey layer below the rusty outer layer ...

[attachment=17679]

it should look more like this.
« Last Edit: 10/04/2013 19:16:51 by RD »

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Offline Skinner

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #14 on: 10/04/2013 19:33:49 »
Please stop Your comments...

Not until I stop noticing anomalous features of your alleged meteorite, e.g. that the weathering rind is too thick and includes an abnormal concrete-grey layer below the rusty outer layer ...

[attachment=17679]

...and i have thinked is serious forum. fail ! Have a nice day, however!

it should look more like this.

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Offline Skinner

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #15 on: 10/04/2013 19:46:53 »
Please stop Your comments...

Not until I stop noticing anomalous features of your alleged meteorite, e.g. that the weathering rind is too thick and includes an abnormal concrete-grey layer below the rusty outer layer ...

[attachment=17679]

it should look more like this.

What I can say, RD.... You are wrong and not competitive to speak about, because You cant discriminate real thing from fake. But it is Your problem and only! Owner decided to make expertise and analysis at Germany, so not need Your help anymore. It's sad no one more gives their opinion about. Many thanks to member - OokieWonderslug for his reply! Best wishes to all !

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Offline RD

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #16 on: 10/04/2013 23:48:13 »
... You cant discriminate real thing from fake. ...

Professor Korotev knows more about this than you or I ...
Quote from: Professor  Randy L. Korotev
#7 If it has some kind of rind or coating, the rind or coating is probably not a fusion crust and the rock isn't a meteorite.

#8  If it's got a thick rind or coating, then it's not a meteorite.
http://meteorites.wustl.edu/realities.htm

No regmaglypts on your alleged iron meteorite, (regmaglypts are more obvious on iron meteorites than the stony ones).

Your alleged iron meteorite doesn't have the Widmanstätten pattern, just an artists impression, (brushed on).

...and i have thinked is serious forum. fail !

The failure is yours : no sale.
« Last Edit: 10/04/2013 23:50:04 by RD »

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Offline CliffordK

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #17 on: 11/04/2013 10:09:06 »
I would say this is a most bizarre rock.

I'll assume it was truly "found".

The cuts are interesting, but inconclusive.  It is difficult for the casual observer of the photos to discrene the difference between an actual grain, and a grinding artifact.  I'd encourage polishing one of the fragments.  You can grind it smooth with your angle grinder, then touch it up with a fine tooth file.  Then, if necessary, hit it with some progressively fine sandpaper, but the file should give a fairly nice finish.

As far as sand casting.  Assuming it is cast as a solid, then there may be a line around the outside indicating the joint between the molds, but the line would not be visible inside the cut.  If one was casting a hollow sphere, then one might cast two separate hemispheres, then join the two, and thus get the junction line.

If you cut this with an angle grinder, did it spark a lot?  or very little?

You might choose to measure either the specific gravity, or the density of the artifact.  That would help you determine whether it is, in fact, solid, or hollow, and may help determine the alloy.

I might consider a cannonball as a possibility, although I would expect a more spherical shape.  Keep in mind that many cannonballs are hollow, and filled with shrapnel and an explosive.  If there is any possibility that it is hollow, then it should be handled with care until it is verified safe.

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Offline RD

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #18 on: 11/04/2013 11:24:45 »
... Assuming it is cast as a solid, then there may be a line around the outside indicating the joint between the molds, but the line would not be visible inside the cut.
[bold emphasis added by me, RD]

The join line would be very obvious in the cut surface if air/steam had got trapped in the gap*, creating voids ...

[attachment=17685]

[ * gap indicated by green line ].
« Last Edit: 11/04/2013 19:01:34 by RD »

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Offline RD

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #19 on: 12/04/2013 09:42:11 »
... You might choose to measure either the specific gravity, or the density of the artifact.  That would help you determine whether it is, in fact, solid, or hollow, and may help determine the alloy..

If it really is "14.50 kilos" that is consistent with it being solid iron, rather than being hollow or with a concrete core , ( an iphone is about 12cm long , density of iron around 7.5 g·cm3 ).

Iron is less than 50 cents per pound. The price of a real 14.50 kilo iron meteorite would be in the range $5,000 - $10,000 . I'm sure Skinner will sell anyone his alleged meteorite for a fraction of that, (but for a lot more than its $15 scrap-metal value ).
« Last Edit: 12/04/2013 21:44:11 by RD »

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Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #20 on: 12/04/2013 12:10:34 »
Unless and until we see a cleaned-up cut surface, polished and etched, there's not a lot anyone can say about it from the pictures.
The lack of Regmaglypts  is suspicious.
Please disregard all previous signatures.

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Offline RD

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #21 on: 12/04/2013 13:24:16 »
Unless and until we see a cleaned-up cut surface, polished and etched, there's not a lot anyone can say about it from the pictures.

other than Widmanstätten patterns consist of straight lines, ( rather than appearing to be drawn freehand ) ...

[attachment=17687]

( allegedly Skinner's photo "phpy4r3j6AM.jpg" shows an etched surface : "it was dunk in acid" [sic]  )
« Last Edit: 12/04/2013 13:35:55 by RD »

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Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #22 on: 12/04/2013 18:06:04 »
Etched perhaps, but not cleaned and polished.
It's difficult to know if it's a mark left by the saw or what.
I am, as you might imagine, rather dubious that someone just found $10,000 but it's possible.
I certainly wouldn't write the idea off on the basis of these pictures, but I wouldn't buy it on the basis of them either.
Please disregard all previous signatures.

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Offline RD

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Re: Is this real iron meteorite pls ...???
« Reply #23 on: 13/04/2013 12:20:02 »
Now I get it : the linear channels which look like they were made with a disc-grinder, are not supposed to be flow lines,
they are another attempt to replicate the Widmanstätten pattern …
[attachment=17693]
The Widmanstätten pattern is not normally visible on the exterior of an iron meteorite :
 the NASA example above has had the pattern revealed by natural sand-blasting ...
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mer/images/mer-20090810c.html

If Skinner's offering had been sand-blasted it would be smooth and shiny, rather than rough and rusty.
« Last Edit: 13/04/2013 16:57:57 by RD »

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Offline JimBob

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Re: How can I tell if an iron-rich meteorite is real?
« Reply #24 on: 20/04/2013 02:15:09 »
Professional opinion ,
J.B - University of Texas 1971, Geology

real

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=47464.0;attach=17677

The picture shows a poorly treated meteorite.  The saw used to cut it introduced  unwanted artifacts and failed to produce the Widmanstätten pattern that is shown as tapered dull bodies. 

THE REASON??   wrong saw and blade used.   A thick, special rock blade should be found on an OILED saw blade table saw or special rock saw.   Take a trip to a rock shop, look at saws.  Then to nearest university geology dept. Let them keep a piece and you'll be pleased

The blade marks are there due to starting and stopping the cutting.

It is real
« Last Edit: 20/04/2013 06:03:57 by JimBob »
The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein

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Offline RD

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Re: How can I tell if an iron-rich meteorite is real?
« Reply #25 on: 20/04/2013 12:47:08 »
Professional opinion ,
J.B - University of Texas 1971, Geology

real



The picture shows a poorly treated meteorite.  The saw used to cut it introduced  unwanted artifacts and failed to produce the Widmanstätten pattern that is shown as tapered dull bodies.

Q. What is the  concrete-grey layer between the rusty-outer and the shiny-interior ?
A. Clue in the question : concrete, ( they should have added something to the concrete to make that rusty-coloured too , although even then the crust/rind is too thick for an iron meteorite  ).     


  Take a trip to a rock shop, look at saws.  Then to nearest university geology dept. Let them keep a piece and you'll be pleased

Skinner also submitted the low-resolution image below which is allegedly a second cut of the same "find"  ...



It's an artifact : the painted-on tiger-stripes are a poor imitation of the Widmanstätten pattern : the markings predominantly run in one direction and there are only two shades of grey, whereas the real Widmanstätten pattern does not predominantly run in one direction, has more than two shades of grey, and exclusively consists of ruler-straight lines.

Professional opinion ,
J.B - University of Texas 1971, Geology

The production of fake meteorites and fake fossils as boomed since the advent of t'internet (ebay) : over time they've got better at faking them.
« Last Edit: 20/04/2013 14:12:19 by RD »

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Offline JimBob

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Re: How can I tell if an iron-rich meteorite is real?
« Reply #26 on: 20/04/2013 22:44:27 »
grey outer layer is called an ablation rind
« Last Edit: 20/04/2013 22:49:12 by JimBob »
The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein

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Offline RD

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Re: How can I tell if an iron-rich meteorite is real?
« Reply #27 on: 20/04/2013 23:52:05 »
grey outer layer is called an ablation rind

Stony meteorites can have a thick crust like an over-baked loaf ...


http://curator.jsc.nasa.gov/antmet/amn/amnfeb95/petdes.htm

but not the iron ones as iron has a lower melting point than stone so the outer layer
of an iron meteorite melts-off rather than accumulating a thick crust. 

Skinners creation is an contradictory composite ...
It is iron but has it has a thick crust like a stony meteorite.
It has a thick crust and yet something resembling the Widmanstätten pattern is visible on the outer surface.
Photos "mmm-1.jpg" and "m-2.jpg" shows a couple of chondrule-like bumps on the surface,
and yet the section does not show the inclusion of any chondrules : just 100% shiny metal.
It lacks regmaglypts , true of some stony meteorites, but is allegedly an iron meteorite which should have many regmaglypts.

[ We're in danger of giving Skinner tips on how to create a better fake ]
« Last Edit: 21/04/2013 07:52:52 by RD »

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Offline Bored chemist

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Re: How can I tell if an iron-rich meteorite is real?
« Reply #28 on: 21/04/2013 10:21:36 »
I think the best advice so far was to take it to the local university's geology department. If they think it looks plausible then you can trade an analysis of it for a slice of it and sell the rest with the university report as "provenance".
They will have the enormous advantage of seeing the real thing, rather than pictures.

The marks on the surface might be a crude attempt at mimicry, or it may have been hit by a plough a few times over the years.

Since the surfaces we see are not ground, polished and etched, it's likely that any features are cutting marks and "rust". As far as I can tell they are useless in terms of proving or disproving the object's identity as a meteorite.
Please disregard all previous signatures.

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Offline JimBob

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Re: How can I tell if an iron-rich meteorite is real?
« Reply #29 on: 21/04/2013 23:31:45 »
This is posted as ''... iron-rich meteorite"  not iron meteorite.

Does it matter if I have done the same with other samples when, and since, I was in university?
« Last Edit: 21/04/2013 23:33:36 by JimBob »
The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein

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Offline CliffordK

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Re: How can I tell if an iron-rich meteorite is real?
« Reply #30 on: 22/04/2013 08:58:39 »
This is posted as ''... iron-rich meteorite"  not iron meteorite.

The metallic color, and blue/yellow/brown colors in the cut piece, rust on the outside, and reportedly a magnet strongly sticks to it, all indicates that it is likely mostly iron.

There are a few inclusions or impurities visible in the photos of the slices.

Anyway, I don't think one can judge the authenticity of the sample without better preparation of the slices, and a better history of how, where, and when the piece was found.

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Offline jutas

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Re: How can I tell if an iron-rich meteorite is real?
« Reply #31 on: 20/11/2013 00:25:15 »
Howdy,
As a meteorite collector of ~15 years, hunter, etc., I thought I might make an account to chime in. 

The pictured specimen does not appear to be an iron meteorite.  Folks on here made some fair points, but most arguments were somewhat misguided, and I would like to take the opportunity to clarify some things.

1) Most (not all) iron meteorites display a Thomson structure when etched with acid.  A fine example of this is Santiago Papasquiero; a granular ungrouped iron:

http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meteor/index.php?code=23169

That said, the vast majority of iron meteorites will not look like this when etched.  Most (but not all) display a Thomson structure (several links in previous messages).  Fine, call it a Widmanstatten pattern if you want, but Widmanstatten's not the one who discovered it. 

And, I must add; most mad-made iron etches to show a similar granular pattern.  It's the very rare meteorite -- but very common man-made relic -- that exhibits a pattern like the one shown in the images. 

2) Why are you people drawing lines along saw marks in the cut face of the object in question?  And why are you drawing on chisel marks on the outside of it?  Comparing the exposed structure of an Antarctic iron that has been ice-blasted for hundreds of thousands of years to the shaley exterior of an American iron that wouldn't weather like that is not productive.  One *almost never* sees the internal structure clearly exposed on the outside of a meteorite. 

3) You can clearly see a rusty rind of at least several mm on the exterior of the specimen in question.  That means you *could not* have any fusion crust left; you can be pretty sure of that.  If you've lost ~a centimeter of material, how would the ~1-2mm thick fusion crust still be preserved on the surface?  It's impossible. 

What happens when you take a piece of iron (meteorite or not) and let it sit outside?  It rusts.  Oxide is not fusion crust by default.  The obvious lack of flow lines and scaly nature of the surface tells us that this object is not covered by a fusion crust. 

4) The iron's actual texture.  It is granular and semi-porous.  I know of a few granular iron meteorites (see link above for an example).  I also know of a few irons that have similar patchy dark inclusions/areas:

http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meteor/get_original_photo.php?recno=5641164

That said, I do not know of any iron meteorites (out of the currently known ~1,100) that have both a granular structure *and* odd black inclusions as can be seen in your specimen. 

It could be a meteorite; I would get it tested.  But I would not bet on it.  People have made a lot of weird meteorite look-alikes in the past few hundred years.  Trust me; you see things like this all the time.  Occasionally, they're meteorites.  But, *almost* never when they look like that on the inside.

Send the end to UCLA.  Dr. Wasson would give it a thorough look for free.  Analysis costs 20 grams or 20%, whichever is less.  Though for larger specimens, he usually asks for a bit more for UCLA's collection.  The analysis costs UCLA ~$600-800 per iron, so it's fair.

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Offline jutas

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Re: How can I tell if an iron-rich meteorite is real?
« Reply #32 on: 20/11/2013 00:37:52 »
Oh -- and a few more things I noticed. 

Small irons often don't display any regmaglypts. 

Irons do indeed form fusion crust:

A cute small oriented iron:

http://www.meteorite.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/flow-lines.jpg

An example showing how the fusion crust can be removed in a desert environment via sand-blasting:

http://www.meteorite-recon.com/img_inventar/Ziz%20Eisenmeteoriten%20NWA%20854%20.jpg

The reddish coloration is exposed metallic iron covered with a *very* thin layer of oxide.  The grey areas preserved mostly in the bottoms of the thumb-prints are the remaining fusion crust.  Not much fusion crust left on this one, though its surface has lost nearly no material to oxidation.  The Sahara's great for keeping meteorites fresh. 

Most irons like this one below don't have fusion crust; just an external layer of oxide:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/09/Barringer_Iron_Meteorite.JPG

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Offline Ophiolite

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Re: How can I tell if an iron-rich meteorite is real?
« Reply #33 on: 20/11/2013 11:29:01 »
I've read this thread with interest and wish to thank jutas for a well-informed opinion.
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