Meteorite Glossary

Some scientific terms describing meteorites or attributes of meteorites.

Ablation Removal of material from the surface of a meteor by vaporization, chipping, or other erosive processes

Achondrites Stone meteorites that do not contain visible chondrules.

Amino Acid Large organic molecule: building block of protein

Amphoterite Obsolete name for LL (low-low iron content) chondrites

Anomalous Highly unusual, unique, uncategorized

Asteroid An interplanetary body, of varying size not associated with a fixed orbit

Ataxite High-nickel content iron meteorite showing no Widmanstatten pattern when etched

Bronzite A silicate mineral with associated iron content of between 10% and 20% – (Mg,Fe)2 Si2O6

Carbonado Carbon that has metamorphosed into its diamond phase but remains black

Chondrites Stone meteorites that contain chondrules

Chondrules Small spheres of silicaceous minerals associated with early formation of solar system.

Enstatite Silicate mineral with an associated iron content of 10% or less. Mg2Si2O6

Eucrite Class of stone meteorite consisting of Ca-pyroxene and plagioclase

Fall Witnessed event of meteorite-dropping fireball

Find A found piece without associated witnessing of event

Hematite Oxidized iron ore

Hexahedrite Six-sided crystal structure found in nickel-iron meteorites

Hypersthene A silica mineral with associated iron content of between 20% and 30% (Mg,Fe)SiO3

Inclusions Mineral grains that once existed separately but now form an aggregate

Kamacite Nickel-iron alloy (7wt %) phase with body-centered cubic structure

Limonite Oxidized iron; rust

Lodranite Refers to only the silicated portions of silicated irons – archaic term

Matrix Base material, surrounding material

Mesosiderite A class of meteorite; partly stone, partly nickel iron in a melded mixture

Meteor A meteoroid that has entered Earth\’s atmosphere

Meteorite The remnants of a meteor after it has actually impacted the Earth

Meteoroid An object in space; similar to but smaller than an asteroid

Newman Lines Fine striations seen in some high-nickel iron meteorites

Octahedrite Eight-sided crystal structure found in nickel-iron meteorites

Olivine A silicate mineral with the general formula (Mg,Fe)25i04

Pallasite Class of stony-iron meteorite containing crystals of olivine

Plagioclase A triclinic mineral with the general chemical composition of Al2Si2O8

Pyroxene One of a number of 5i04 silicate minerals common in meteorites

Regmaglypt (plural regmaglypts) A small, shallow indentation or pit on the surface of a meteorite, resembling a thumbprint impression in clay, created by heat ablation while falling through an atmosphere.

Schreibersite A phosphide mineral with the formula (Fe,Ni)3P

Silicate Glassy or stony component made up primarily of the element silicon

Strewnfield The area over which a meteorite has fallen

Sulfide Sulfur-containing, as in sulfur-oxide

Taenite Iron alloy with a face-centered crystalline orientation

Troilite Stoichiometric iron sulphide, FeS

Ureilite Carbon-rich achondrite meteorites with olivine and pigeonite

Widmanstatten A crystalline pattern seen in iron meteorites after acid etching