How to Collect Meteorites





Introduction: How to Collect Meteorites

About: I love building things and taking pictures. If you want me to build something...I'm open to ideas. My motto? "If you want something to be done in this world, you must do it yourself.

You will now go around to random places with a metal detector and shovel and look for over sized rocks that came from space. Seem easy enough?

I didn't think so.

The chance of you finding large meteorites is so slim that you would have a better chance of guessing their next door neighbors iPhone 4s passcode. (4 spots 10 possibilities per = 10000 possible codes.)

There is however a much easier way that I will now show you how to do. The biggest material it requires? Your local beach.

You will be collecting dust but after a while, it collects.

This is a fun novelty to collect and have on your office desk as well as also proving to be very cool. I mean, how many people get to say "I have a meteorite on my office desk." ?

Step 1: What!? No Metal Detector!?

You will need:
1 neodymium magnet
2 bags
1 local (or very far away) beach

Step 2: The Element of Surprise

Flip one bag inside out. Place the neodymium magnet inside.

Have the other bag opened and ready to store your findings.

This is you search device.

Step 3: Collections.

Now, go to a beach and take an object to flatten out some of the the sand a bit. Your hand will do just fine with that. A flat surface will allow you to collect more dust.

Step 4: Done.

Pull the magnet out of the bag to release the findings into the second bag. It  will take a while but it is rewarding in the end. You may notice there are some impurities (sand) inside of the bag. I am trying to find a way to fix tha and will update soon.

Although what you say is true, over certain periods of time as meteorites will impact and they enter Earth's atmosphere, they burn up into dust. A beach is a ideal spot to collect the dust because the sand will not absorb the dust.

Have fun!



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    nvr mind... just realized what the white squares are for lol

    Clever, but how are to distinguish between meteorites and plain old hematite?

    3 replies

    Hmmm...good point. I will have to ponder that.

    From what I know on the subject (which is minimal), the only difference between hematite and meteor fragments is composition ratio and crystal structure (apparently crystals form differently in 0G). Meteorites should have a large amount of nickle.

    I believe micro meteorites will be nearly spherical from burning up during entry into the atmosphere.

    See here for more info:

    Would this work up here in new England or is your area have higher space dust fall. And also could I check in some sandpits left by glaciers I do know a few

    1 reply

    No problem. Any beach will do. To be honest, I shot all these pictures in Hong Kong. There should be no difference. What does make a difference is the magnet you use. You should use neodymium (rare earth) magnets. I didn't here because I forgot them back home back in the U.S. Sandpits will work but it really depends on size. If it is 2 feet wide then there are less chance for deposits to hit there than a large beach but it should work just fine.

    if something is magnetic, wouldnt it rust? also on a beach, youd think something as small as dust would just be eaten away by the salt water and dissolved away to nothing. but i dont know, maybe not? Hey another thought, why doesnt a metal dector go crazy on a beach if all the metal is in the sand?

    3 replies

    Good thoughts. Let's see:

    New deposits are being made all the time. But I am not sure why it doesn't

    It wouldn't because a beach is large and there are some places salt water never reaches.

    A metal detector has a coil that when enough metal is present it will change the oscillation frequency enough for the electronics to detect it causing it to beep or light up, etc.

    I hope I answered your questions.

    ahhh I see... I just thought that withthe way things that dont even go in the water will rot because of the salt in the air... like nails in a house or cars... I guess though if there is alot of this stuff falling to earth daily, it must turn over pretty well.

    No problem. Give it a try if you have some time.

    Actually, there are lots of iron bearing minerals in the sand at a seashore besides meteorites. A better method to collect meteorites that doesn't force you to go to the beach is to put a bucket under your houses rain spouts. Meteorites, as you mentioned, rain down as dust all the time. They collect on your roof and then are washed off during rain storms. Since there is little to no magnetic rock compounds on your roof what magnetic material you collect is much more likely to be of meteoric origin. Of course the size, and the composition of your roof will affect your mileage :-)

    5 replies

    I've attempted to collect micrometeorites off my roof. Here in California, we have ideal weather to do this, as it doesn't rain all summer. The first rain in the fall washes off everything that has collected all summer.

    So I put some Nd magnets in my downspout. The next day there was an impressive collection of things stuck to them. Unfortunately, most of the aggregate appears to be from the roof shingles. (Why some of the grit on asphalt shingles is magnetic, I don't know.) I haven't gotten around yet to picking things apart under a microscope, but I wouldn't be suprised if I don't find some micrometeorites.

    You should try a beach...if ou're in California...

    he could be more landlocked than it my seem

    I agree. Its just that collecting from rain spouts is unavailable to some such as those in apartments or hotels. Also, for those in dense areas acid rain may be another problem. Very good suggestion though. If you are in places that don't experience these problems it is just fine.

    I've been trying to use this meteorite (which a purchased I didn't find) to see if any things I've collected (larger things more like pebble sized) could possibly be a meteorite, but it doesn't help at all for micrometeorites. In colorado there are no beaches and whether is not ideal for collecting off of your roof. Its easy to collect iron dust from streams, but how would you determine that it is actually a micrometeorite and not terrestrial iron?

    1 reply

    Very interesting problem.

    You can probably use store bought sand but I am not sure.

    P.S. I didn't know you lived in Colorado.

    P.P.S. If you are reading this you need to go and read P.S. first because it is superior to P.P.S.