ordinary chondrites

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On the right is one of many fragments of an L5 ordinary chondrite from Algeria known as Northwest Africa 869 (L4–6). On the top, the fusion crust is still intact. Notice that it is smooth with no holes. The rougher portion on the bottom of the photo is where the fusion crust as broken off after it fell. This meteorite probably also fell thousands of years ago and has been exposed to harsh conditions in the desert.

Note that there is no obvious metal. L chondrites do not contain as much metal as H chondrites. The rock is moderately magnetic, however.

Click on image for enlargement (big).

Above left and right: Two views (direct sunlight) of an unclassified ordinary chondrite fragment from the Sahara desert. The fusion crust is dark and smooth. If this were a fresh fall, it would be shinier. In most meteorites the fusion crust is darker than the interior.

On the right is the weathered, broken face of the meteorite (electronic flash lighting). Rusting of the metal grains has led to reddish staining. Up close, shiny, unrusted metal grains stick out. Click on image for enlargement (big).

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*See the density web page for a tabulation of the relative abundance of different kinds of meteorites.

Prepared by:

Randy L. Korotev

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Washington University in St. Louis

Please don't contact me about the meteorite you think you’ve found until you read this and this.