Space invaders?
June 3, 2012 4:13 PM   Subscribe

Are these meteorites? I've been moving them with me for years, always meaning to ask.

Photos here.

What little credible stuff I've been able to find online makes me dubious, but I put it to the hivemind.
posted by littlerobothead to Science & Nature (12 answers total)
Are they heavy? Meteorites are incredibly dense so are extremely heavy for their size....and that's about all I know about them.
posted by catatethebird at 4:16 PM on June 3, 2012

Response by poster: @catatethebird Not particularly? Maybe just slightly heavier than other rocks. They also have rusted slightly over the years.
posted by littlerobothead at 4:18 PM on June 3, 2012

You may be interested in this meteorite identification page which contains some tests you can run to rule out non-meteorites.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:26 PM on June 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

Probably not. To my eye, they're not smooth enough (lots of knobs and maybe vesicles?) and the shape is wrong (too many flat sides and sharp edges).

Here's another page to help identify (or rather, rule out) meteorites:
posted by BrashTech at 4:33 PM on June 3, 2012

I think those are not meteorites... they are a kind of iron, or at least iron-rich rocks. That's why they rust. I'm basing this on a half-remembered article, though, so take that into account.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 4:42 PM on June 3, 2012

They look a bit like the chunks of bog iron I have; this Wikipedia page has other examples. I thought mine were proof of aliens from Mars for years, though I think they're still quite cool in their own right!
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:53 PM on June 3, 2012

Like jetlagaddict says, bog iron or perhaps manufactured slag - I worked on an factory site once that had literal tons and tons of slag, some of it quite pretty.
posted by cobaltnine at 5:20 PM on June 3, 2012

My dad, who lists among his meteoriticist career such awesomeness as collecting meteorites in Antarctica, had this to say via email:
Based on just the photos I would say 90% not meteorites. Just gotta leave a little possiblility because I can't enlarge the pics to see more close up. They mostly resemble iron meteorites but she says they are only slightly heavier than a normal rock, so probably not. If they're stony meteorites then I'd have to look more closely to ID for sure. In that case she should look for chins rules but I would bet money on meteowrong.
posted by fiercecupcake at 5:50 PM on June 3, 2012 [6 favorites]

Oh, and I see you are a "fella" by your profile, sorry. :]
posted by fiercecupcake at 5:51 PM on June 3, 2012

I am not a meteoriticist, but I grew up around slag, and it strongly reminds me of that. Especially the first one has two faces that makes it look like it was broken off a sheet; slag'll form in sheets or streams when it's molten, and then crack when it cools. There's a couple pictures in here of a slag dump.
posted by RobotHero at 8:20 PM on June 3, 2012

Oh! And I'm betting "chins rules" should be "chondrules," but he was on his phone. That took me way too long to figure out.
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:18 PM on June 3, 2012

Slag, yes. I live in a house that had a coal-fired furnace when it was built, and I have tons of chunks just like that in the flowerbed that runs alongside the basement stairs.
posted by slenderloris at 2:31 PM on June 4, 2012

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