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Meteorite identification flowchart.

Jolyon & Katya Ralph December 20, 2012 11:56AM
I often get asked "Is this a meteorite?". After talking with other experts, and looking at the data from amateur meteorite enquirites at our local museum, etc, I have put together a flowchart I think you may find useful in trying to determine whether you have found a meteorite or not.

If you follow the flowchart through correctly it will help identify whether you have a meteorite or not with about 99.98% accuracy.


open | download - flowchart.gif (9.9 KB)
Johan Kjellman December 20, 2012 01:37PM
Great Jolyon,
You could expand it to a multi-test.
As a tool for the amateur community it seems to be working equally well for gold/platinum/diamond.

Scott Sadlocha December 20, 2012 01:51PM
Based on the history of this question, I shouldn't have been drinking my morning coffee when opening up the flowchart, but since it was early morning I wasn't paying attention too well. I laughed so hard I sprayed little drops of coffee all over my laptop screen. :-)

That accuracy level sounds about right.
MIchael Sharpe December 20, 2012 02:23PM
Thanks for sharing
Branko Rieck December 20, 2012 02:51PM

I guess a "Diamond identification flowchart" would fit in here nicely!
Adam Berluti December 20, 2012 03:04PM
That's hilarious Jolyon! :)-D

I guess that means I didn't find a meteorite then :-D
Lefteris Rantos December 20, 2012 03:33PM

There is still this 0,02% margin of error!!
Stephen Rose December 20, 2012 05:17PM

Had a good chuckle and then realized how inappropriate humor is today. Just a few short hours before Doomsday!

Cheers (muted)

Beth Schaefer December 20, 2012 06:24PM
Ha you got me at first! I at first thought something was wrong with my connection because the whole flowchart wasn't showing, I was trying to scroll everywhere to get the rest of the chart! I agree with Johan and Branko and also think a flowchart should be made not only for diamond, but for platinum as well!
David Baldwin December 20, 2012 06:46PM
Very funny Jolyon :-D
Jim Sullivan December 20, 2012 07:32PM
hahahahahahahahaha!! I want that framed and hanging on the wall in my office! Great Job, Jolyon!
Rock Currier December 20, 2012 08:35PM
And here I thought I was the most cynical guy here on Mindat. How old does a child/person need to be before we are permitted to deny the existence of Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/20/2012 08:38PM by Rock Currier.
Maggie Wilson December 20, 2012 09:22PM
allow me to be first to reply to Rock's comments:



PS - loved the flow chart, btw!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/20/2012 09:23PM by Maggie Wilson.
Keith Compton December 21, 2012 12:37AM
Hey Rock "Grinch" Currier,

Not even you are old enough !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm with you Maggie



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2012 12:38AM by Keith Compton.
Adam Kelly December 21, 2012 12:49AM
That's wonderful
Danny Jones December 21, 2012 01:16AM
He is still bring me rocks! Who am I to say he does not exist! GO SANTA!

Danny Jones
ronald December 28, 2012 09:50AM
Anything relating to meteorites and/or meteor-wrongs sold be run past Anne (Black), as she is as her forensic handwriting analysis report indicates she, apparently is beyond reproach. She also is impossible to debate with a
successful outcome, she always wins the debate. For more info refer to: Geoff Notkin, Dan Wray, or Blaine Reed.
Jason Evans January 06, 2013 04:22PM
Funniest thing I have seen all day!
Steve Hardinger January 06, 2013 04:27PM
Jolyon, Based on my experience as a mineral dealer who's answered this question many times over the years, I can say that your flowchart is incomplete. It's missing a second action box, which should be placed after the "no" box. The second action box should read "keep asking other people until someone says yes".
Joe Mulvey January 06, 2013 06:06PM
Can you export that into a Smart Phone app?
Don Windeler January 06, 2013 08:09PM
Apparently some doctors have recommended 300 belly laughs/day for good health.

The belly laughs I got from sharing this with my wife & son (especially Steve's addendum!) met the quota for the day. Thanks!
Bob King August 21, 2013 02:49AM
Thanks for the laugh! I love your chart. I write a daily astronomy blog called Astro Bob ( and wondered whether I might use it also on my site with attribution. Please let me know. Thank you!
Mineralogical Research Company August 22, 2013 02:11AM

As we get meteorite identification requests quite regularly, I quickly realized that your Meteorite Identification Flowchart would come in handy. I just didn't realize how soon.... I had just stopped laughing and finally regained my normal serious composure when the following occurred. I went out to retrieve today's mail and found a letter, the contents of which I reveal here.

"Enclosed is a photocopy of 2 asteroids I am selling.

1. They are lighter than normal, maybe a different type.

2. If not real, the only other possibility is a natural formation that is unknown now, but would still be valuable because they are rare.

3. I am selling them for $170-each.

Let me know."

Now I thought immediately to send the fellow your chart, but realized that it only encompasses meteorites, not asteroids and certainly not previously unknown natural formations. As you read this post, I imagine that you are already thinking of how to extend the breadth of your chart. Perhaps you could also add valuation to the chart. I anxiously await Rev.1 to be posted.

With kind regards,

PS Yes, the above mentioned letter really did arrive today.
A. A. Faller August 22, 2013 04:02AM
Absolutely PERFECT! Thanks for that...
Dan Costian August 23, 2013 12:22AM
Hi Bob,
Can you confirm or infirm if this Widmanstatten belongs to a Campo del Cielo (in the begative, waht else) and if possible, which alloys are present according to this pattern? Thanks.
open | download - IMG_8389.jpg (453.8 KB)
David Garske August 23, 2013 04:04AM
In many years of being a mineral dealer, I was shown 1 that probably was a nickel iron, then--- A guy in Bisbee brought in a box from a Bisbee!! fall. Had them sent to a lab and verified, was ready to really make some money until a meteorite metallurgist stopped in and checked them in his lab. They had been stolen from Meteor crater in Arizona.
Dan Costian August 23, 2013 06:57PM
Thank you, David, for sharing your (bad in this case) experience of mistaken locality. Meteorites are different from minerals. First of all, their structure (revealed by etching a polished side) is somehow like a fingerprint for their origin (location). Second, it’s not enough to say “it’s an iron-nickel alloy”; there are various kinds of alloys with distinctive crystal shapes, like kamacite, taenite, schreibersite, cohenite, troilite, plessite and some included even graphite and diamonds. I agree that this has more to do with metallurgy than mineralogy.
Leor Goldberg September 15, 2013 06:49AM
This is great. This should be an official mindat poster at this point, I think.
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