Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Meteorite fragments

Click on the meteorite fragment to rotate the specimen and take a 360 degree look.

Meteorites are natural objects that survive their fall to Earth from space.When the Solar System formed, approximately 4570 million years ago, asteroids and comets were produced along with the Sun and planets. Meteorites are fragments broken from asteroids, and are our only opportunity for direct study of the material from which the Solar System was built.
Meteorites come in several forms. Iron meteorites are almost entirely metallic iron with several weight percent nickel (e.g., Henbury), whilst some are mixtures of stone and metal (e.g., Krasnojarsk). The biggest groups of meteorites are the stony meteorites, which are made from the same minerals that make up rocks on Earth. Some stony meteorite are close to terrestrial basalts (rocks made from lava: e.g., Stannern), whilst others have not melted since they formed. These unmelted stones are known as chondrites (e.g., Parnallee, Plainview). Although almost all meteorites come from the Asteroid Belt, one group of meteorites comes from Mars. (e.g., Nakhla).

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