An Article In Meteorite-Times Magazine
by Tom Phillips

Guess The Classification

Many people dismiss unclassified meteorites as uninteresting. I would argue the opposite. They hold the prospect of discovery for the average meteorite collector who doesn't have the opportunity to collect in the field.

Many times I have selected meteorites out of the same shipment that looked to be paired only to cut them and find two drastically different materials. Even after examination with a cross polarized light stereo microscope and magnets. You seldom can tell what it will look like inside, until it is cut. An uncut meteorite is still a mystery.

My interest in meteorites has led to my interest in microscopes. I have purchased micros of every type of meteorite material I can find. It is a fun challenge to attempt to match up the unknown with a sample of what is known. I would never "self classify" and I am not recommending that. All I am saying is it is fun. It will teach you more about recognizing meteorite structure than looking in a book.

This meteorite is one I have examined and am unsure about. I have sent a sample to NAU for classification but it is still in the pipe line. One broken (two pieces) stone has a weight of 5.3 Kg and I have pulled together an other 3.5 Kg of fragments for a total of 8.8 Kg.

The magnetic attraction is very low. A known LL of similar thickness will pull a magnet off of this material.


There is very little visible iron and large but sparse chondrule/inclusions.

This photo was taken with a stereo microscope at a magnification of 15X in cross polarized light.

The following micrographs were taken using an aus Jena Neophot at a magnification of 345X in cross polarized light. There is some beautiful structure and I was able to find a barred chondrule and some shock veins. If you have ever seen a similar meteorite, let me know what you think it might be. I'll let you know what it is classified as soon as it is available.


Tom Phillips can be reached by email at:

Meteorite Photos and Images
The Tom Phillips Microscopic Meteorite Photography and Gallery