How to Find Meteorites and Make a Profit

Take part in a natural treasure hunt, learn how to find meteorites and pick up a few extra dollars hunting for falling stars.

| May/June 1978

Learn how to find meteorites. The pallasite (stony-iron) type is the rarest of all the meteorites.

Learn how to find meteorites. The pallasite (stony-iron) type is the rarest of all the meteorites.

Photo Courtesy of The Center for Meteorite Studies/Arizona State University

Learn how to find meteorites and create your own profitable part-time job.

Meteors are lured from their orbits in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars by the gravitational pull of the Sun, and some of them are then attracted to the Earth.

When they arrive at night, their descent into our planet's atmosphere is marked by bright streaks of light, sometimes white and sometimes a variety of other colors which — usually — end in red (the changes are a direct indication of temperature and velocity). Daytime arrivals are traced by what appear to be trails of smoke or dust.

These displays of aerial "fireworks" and "skywriting" are frequently accompanied by thunder-like rumbles and/or an explosion . . . occasionally a buzzing, hissing, or crackling noise and, once in a while, seemingly no sound at all.

Some of these meteorites or meteors or meteoroids — colloquially called "falling stars" — burn up in our atmosphere and never reach the earth at all. Many others (thousands annually!) do make it all the way to the planet's surface, however, and that fact should be of more than passing interest to you. Why? Because a number of individuals and institutions are eager to buy these "rocks that fall from the sky." You'll never get rich catering to the market, of course, but you can pick up some extra bucks collecting meteorites. Besides, this is one "fun" treasure hunt that everybody can get in on!

Meteorites Come in Three Major Classes

All told, there are approximately 80 known varieties of meteorites, and they're generally lumped into three categories: stony, iron, and stony-iron.

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