metal detecting meteorites

Metal Detecting For Meteorites


Metal Detecting For Meteorites

Meteorite metal detecting is the fascinating activity of searching for extraordinary rocks that originate from outer space. 

The majority of meteorites originate as pieces broken off from asteroids or comets that have endured an odyssey across the solar system over countless millennia, prior to their eventual descent through Earth's atmosphere.

As these extraterrestrial objects enter our atmosphere, the friction causes them to heat up and break into smaller pieces, sending meteorites raining down onto the planet's surface.

If you have patience, an explorer's drive, and a good metal detector, meteorite metal detecting may be your calling. 

Meteorites scatter randomly so hotspots take dedication to find. But with the right metal detecting skills, spectacular galactic riches await you! 

From stone chondrites to solid nickel-iron, the variety of meteorites matches the thrill of the hunt. 

So grab your metal detector, digging tools and let’s uncover some star-born space rocks!

How Much Do Meteorite Detector Finds Sell For?

The scientific and collector's value of these cosmic materials is enormous, with prices ranging widely based on factors like type, size, aesthetics and rarity.

An everyday chondrite meteorite from the Sahara may sell for $0.50 per gram. For instance, a specimen of the Peekskill meteorite, which is known for its distinctive history as a witnessed fireball event, can fetch between $100 to $200 per gram.

However a rare slice of Mars or the moon can fetch over $1,000 per gram - more valuable than diamonds! When it comes to return on investment, meteorites can far surpass diamonds in terms of value per gram or ounce for rare lunar, Martian and pallasite specimens. 

For example, a 4.25-pound section of a Mars meteorite sold at auction for $63,000 - over $15,000 per pound.

In fact, certain meteorite types are valued higher than precious gems due to their extreme rarity. The astronomical origins of meteorites also increase interest from scientific institutions, driving prices up. 

But any metal detecting find feels priceless when you uncover an exotic extraterrestrial treasure. While the financial incentives are clear, metal detecting for meteorites holds deeper rewards. 

Spotting that first promising signal and carefully extracting an ancient cosmic vagrant that traveled billions of miles across space - there's simply nothing like it! 

And cataloging new finds advances our understanding of the solar system's formation and geology.

How To Find Meteorite Sites For Metal Detecting

Selecting promising meteorite metal detecting sites requires some savvy terrain evaluation and research. 

Ideal conditions exist in hot, arid regions of the American West - desert settings where sparse rainfall limits soil formation or vegetation. 

Areas like the Sonoran Desert stretching across California, Arizona, and Mexico offer bare expanses of rugged yet ancient land. Without much plant cover or erosion, fallen meteorites sit pristinely preserved for eons. 

Concentrate efforts in zones like dry lake beds or mountain passes where geology and climate converge to protect delicate messengers from space.

Before trekking out, utilize online meteorite databases to study documented discoveries. The Meteoritical Society's Meteoritical Bulletin Database is the authoritative source for information on meteorites. 


To leverage it:

  1. Access their database containing records on all known meteorites including classification details and locations.
  2. Use the search tools to find meteorites based on name, place discovered, type, mass or other attributes.
  3. Identify meteorites of interest then view granular data like coordinates of the recovery site, physical parameters and more.
  4. Finally, input the GPS coordinates into mapping software to reveal the exact discovery site for targeted investigation.

Cross reference finds, search by state, note the locations and frequency over time. This reveals sweet spots where repeated strikes suggest rich hunting grounds. 

For instance, mapping finds geo-spatially uncovers clusters around places like the Mojave Desert and the Great Plains where over 100 specimens were recovered.

Check satellite views studying the aridity, rock distributions and land forms. Ruled out wooded areas. Seek places where dark extraterrestrial materials will contrast against lighter sedimentary soils.

With diligent study and patient field work across promising American deserts, a world of cosmic wonder awaits discovery. Combining savvy research with eagle-eyed reconnaissance and a bit of luck may yield the extraterrestrial prize of a lifetime!

Locations In Florida Where Meteorites Have Landed

Florida might not be the first place you think of when it comes to meteorite hunting, but its landscape holds evidence of a surprising assortment of spacefaring visitors. 

Let's take a look at some documented florida finds that highlight this diversity:

These documented discoveries reveal the fascinating range of meteorites that have touched down in Florida. 

From hefty fragments to tiny remnants, they paint a compelling picture of the variety of cosmic travelers that occasionally pay our planet a visit.

Showing plenty of meteorite metal detecting opportunity in Florida!

Using the Metal Detector to Find Meteorites: A Practical Guide

While the dream of finding a meteorite might seem out of this world, with the right preparation and approach, you can significantly increase your chances. 

Here's how to turn your metal detector into a meteorite-finding machine:

Calibration and Ground Balancing

When it comes to meteorite metal detecting, getting your detector's settings right can make a big difference. Always start with proper ground balancing.  This is essential for filtering out the interference caused by minerals in the soil, which could otherwise mask the signal of a meteorite.  

Refer to your detector's manual – it'll have step-by-step instructions on exactly how to achieve the ideal ground balance.

Next up is sensitivity. Finding the sweet spot between sensitivity and stability is key.Higher sensitivity means you could pick up smaller meteorite fragments, but it also might lead to more false signals.

Lower sensitivity gives a more stable experience. Spend some time experimenting with these settings to figure out what works best for your chosen search location.

Discrimination is a bit more nuanced. Since most meteorites have high iron content, they'll show up on standard metal detecting modes. 

But, if you're hunting in an area with excessive modern metal trash, applying some discrimination to filter out specific iron signals can reduce distractions and keep you focused.

Pay close attention to your detector's audio responses. Meteorites generally produce strong, clear tones. Focus on signal strength and consistency, not just the pitch (although a high tone can sometimes indicate a small, near-the-surface meteorite). 

Even beginner metal detectors can feature visual displays and threshold settings. These additional tools might offer extra hints when you're trying to decide if a signal is worth digging up.

The Magnet Test: Your Meteorite Secret Weapon

You've got a strong signal from your metal detector, and you've carefully unearthed a promising-looking object.  

Now what? 

This is where a simple magnet comes to the rescue!  Most meteorites contain iron, so if your mysterious find is strongly attracted to a magnet, your chances of having a space rock just went way up. 

Always have a powerful magnet on hand – it's arguably the most reliable quick test in a metal detecting meteorite hunter's arsenal.

But That's Not All...

While the magnet test is a fantastic starting point, take a closer look at your potential meteorite.  Does it have a dark, burnt-looking crust (a fusion crust), formed as it hurtled through the atmosphere? Are there unusual pits or smooth indentations on its surface?  Meteorites often have irregular shapes, unlike many terrestrial rocks.

Finally, does it feel surprisingly heavy for its size?

Meteorites are typically denser than most Earth rocks.  If your find passes these additional visual and "heft" tests, the excitement level should really be ramping up!


Meteorite metal detecting is an exciting adventure that blends the anticipation of discovery with the joy of exploring the world around you. While finding a genuine space rock isn't guaranteed, the journey itself offers rewards.  

Remember, embrace the thrill of the hunt,  immerse yourself in the process, and savor the excitement that comes with every signal. 

Every outing brings new knowledge and experience, making you a more skilled meteorite detectorist. 

Don't get discouraged – persistence and a passion for exploration will guide you on this extraordinary quest. Who knows, the next strong signal from your metal detector might just reveal a piece of the cosmos waiting to be unearthed!

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