Optical Microscopy of Meteoritic Metal
Welcome to MeteoriteMetal.com, a website devoted to the study of Fe-Ni metal microstructures in stony meteorites.
For more than 100 years, scientists have polished and etched iron meteorites with the objective of revealing their unique and mysterious microstructures. The most comprehensive optical study of iron meteorites is recorded in Vagn Buhwald's "Handbook of Iron Meteorites", which presents micrographs for hundreds of iron meteorites accompanied by insightful interpretations of iron meteorite evolution.
In terms of observed meteorite falls, stony meteorites outnumber the irons more than one-hundred fold. As their name suggests, stony meteorites are composed primarily of silicate minerals but they also contain variable amounts of Fe-Ni metal. This metal occurs as small (often sub-millimeter) particles peppered amongst silicates. The metal in stony meteorites, like that of iron meteorites, can be polished and etched to reveal telling microstructures. Indeed, the metal microstructures offer unique insight into a stone's history because metals are responsive to thermal and shock processing at temperatures below silicate closure temperatures.
The purpose of this website is to share photomicrographs of meteoritic metal in stony meteorites, as revealed by reflected light microscopy.
"Then is it reasonable to think that one can see, by looking in a microscope, what is going on in another planet?"
The Father, August Strindberg (1887).