Why this rock is probably not a meteorite:

1) No fusion crust.

2) Our Raman spectroscopic analysis identified the whitish mineral as cristobalite, a pseudomorph of quartz (i.e., a silica mineral). Cristobalite occurs in some meteorites, but is never this abundant.

3) The circular things are too shiny and the wrong color to be chondrules (see no. 35). The rock has a low density and is not magnetic. These features together are inconsistent with any type of meteorite.

4) Our Raman spectroscopic analysis showed the round things to consist of metallic silicon! Silicon metal does not occur in nature, either on Earth or in meteorites.
What is it?

This interesting "rock" is certainly some industrial by-product — a piece of slag.

This is perhaps the 5th meteorwrong that we've examined that was, or contained, metallic silicon. Silicon catches people's attention because it is shiny. Silicon is unusual because the specific gravity (2.3) is much lower than that of most metals that people are familiar with (iron: 7.9; copper: 8.9) except aluminum (2.7).


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.