Where Is the Best Place to Find Meteorites?

Where Is the Best Place to Find Meteorites?

The best place to find meteorites is any area with a dry climate, such as a desert or dry lake bed.

When a meteoroid hits the surface of the Earth it leaves behind meteorites. These are exciting pieces of geology because they originate in outer space and end up right here on the surface of our planet. Finding a meteorite is like finding a piece of another world.

What Do Meteorites Look Like?

Where to Find Meteorites

When most people think of the word “meteorite”, they think of a chunk of iron — the most readily identifiable meteorites are composed mainly of iron. Not all meteorites look like the ones you see in textbooks. Some have very little or no iron content at all.

The easiest way to identify a meteorite is by what it isn’t — meteorites do not contain quartz, crystal structures, or tiny “holes”. Meteorites are generally very heavy. A final note — meteorites will not have any sharp or jagged edges. The impact with Earth takes care of that.

How Do I Find a Meteorite?

The best way to find a meteorite is to head into a dry area with a metal detector. If you’re looking for a meteorite in a dry lake bed, your metal detector may not work, as there’s lots of minerals in these areas. Instead of a metal detector, use a cane or walking stick with a strong magnet attached to its end.

One positive feature about looking for meteorites in a dry lake bed — the ground is light in color, and a dark meteorite will stand out against the light background.

If you’re a first time meteorite hunter, look along the “shoreline” of a dry lake. You are far more likely to find meteorites along the shoreline because of “rock migration” — the heavy meteorites will roll down from higher elevation due to rain and erosion and settle on the shoreline.

More Tips For Finding Meteorites

Finding meteorites requires patience. Geologists tell us that meteorites are more rare than gold, and it can take years of training to start finding them consistently.

If you’re using a metal detector, stick to the outer edges of a lake bed or desert. Meteorite hunters say that bushes and boulders on the outer edges of these features “catch” meteorites. Think of the bushes and boulders as nets for meteorites.

A final tip for finding meteorites — you don’t have to go to a specific area to find them. Meteorites are everywhere. Why? Meteorites have been falling on the Earth for literally millions of years. There are billions of meteorites on the surface of the Earth, some gigantic, some microscopic. Meteorites don’t know where deserts and dry lake beds are — they fall all over the place. It may be easier to find meteorites in these locations, but they are not restricted to just arid climates and old lake beds.

Meteorite hunting is a difficult but rewarding hobby. If you know where and how to look, you’re more likely to find your first meteorite before the age of 70.