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Rock and Mineral Identification

Polished and acid-etched cross-section of an iron-nickel meteorite showing a crystalline structure known as a "Widmanstatten" pattern. This reveals information about the cooling histories of the interiors of differentiated minor planets around the time of the birth of our solar system. The darker blebs are an iron sulfide mineral known as troilite, found almost exclusively in meteorites.

Resources for Rock Identification:

The following links may be useful for identifying minerals, rocks, and meteorites at home. Keep in mind, out of the many hundreds of samples brought to us, the vast majority are common rocks or industrial slag. Only one sample has ever been confirmed as a meteorite at the University in the past several decades.

General Geology Information and Rock and Mineral Database

Identifying Meteorites

Identifying Minerals

The University of Michigan Natural History museum occasionally runs a rock identification day. Check here for the latest news about upcoming rock-ID events at the museum:


Appraisal is a highly technical specialty outside the mission of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. We are unable to provide appraisals, nor recommend or endorse appraisers.