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A meteorite is a solid body that has fallen on the Earth's surface from outer space. Most meteorites are part of our solar system derived from the asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter. But some very, very rare meteorites actually come from far beyond our solar system, from the distant realms of our galaxy or possibly even from outside our own galaxy.

Meteorites may be captured by the Earth when they are pulled from their orbits by the gravitational attraction of the sun or planets or collide with each other.

When a meteor enters the Earth's atmosphere the resulting fireball produces light, due to the friction between its surface and the air. A smoke or dust trail is produced in the sky by the fireball caused by the removal of material from the surface of the meteorite.

Because the fireballs are traveling at high speeds, they sometimes produce a sonic boom or whistling heard over 30 miles or more from whee the meteorite lands.

Meteorites are scientifically important and worthy of careful study because they have come from the solar system beyond our own planet and can provide valuable information about our solar system and the universe.


Western Australia, Australia

This meteorite is made of iron, and is a medium octahedrite with sulphide and silicate inclusions (IRANOM). It was found in 1911, but its total weight is unknown.

The two largest masses (one about 10-12 tons and the other 4-6 tons) were found in 1966. Three smaller pieces, the Premier Downs masses, were found in 1911 and 1918.


Northern Territory, Australia

This meteorite is an iron, medium octahedrite (IIIA). It was found in June, 1937 and its total weight is unknown.

The Boxhole crater is a circular depression 170 meters in diameter. Many small fragments have been found, the largest being an 82 kg mass.

It has been determined that this meteorite fell about 5,000 years ago.


Arizona Meteor Crater, Arizona USA

About 30,000 years ago a giant meteor hit the dry Arizona desert at the incredible speed of 30,000 miles per hour. The resulting blast created an impact crater 4,000 feet across and 700 feet deep. Most of the meteor was vaporized, but some fragments survived, the largest being 639 kg.


Moldau River Valley, Bohemia, Czechoslovakia

Classic gem quality green moldavite are the most beautiful of the Tektites. Unusual splash forms make them highly prized among collectors.

Tektites are formed when a huge meteor collides with the earth with such force that melted rock and meteorite are thrown at high speeds into the upper atmosphere.

Here they cool and harden, preserving their splash, melted shape.

Tektites are found in strew fields sometimes thousands of miles across. This occurred about 15 million years ago.


Murchison, Victoria, Australia

This very rare type of meteorite fell just before 11:00 a.m., Sunday morning, September 28, 1969. Local residents heard the loud detonations like thunder throughout the Goulburn River Valley.

Organic compounds in the form of amino acids were discovered inside this unique meteorite including glysine, aspartic and aminoisobutyric acids and many more.

Also, recent studies have found interstellar grains (formed by a supernova) trapped inside these very old meteorites -- at least 4.6 billion years ago.