Glossary of meteoritics


This is a glossary of terms used in meteoritics, the science of meteorites.




  • Basaltic achondrite – a grouping of basalt meteorites (HED meteorites + Angrite)
  • Brachinite – either a primitive achondrite or an asteroidal achondrite
  • Bolide – is an extremely bright meteor, especially one that explodes in the atmosphere



  • Dar al Gani – a meteorite field in the Libyan Sahara.
  • Desert glass – natural glass found in deserts formed from the silica in sand as a result of lightning strikes or meteor impacts.
  • Differentiated – a meteorite that has undergone igneous differentiation. (See: achondrite)
  • Differentiation – usually the process of a planetesimal forming an iron core and silicate mantle.
  • Duo – a grouping of two meteorites that share similar characteristics (see Grouplet).


  • E – can refer to enstatite chondrite or to an iron meteorite designation (Roman numeral and letter).
  • Eagle Station grouplet – a set of pallasite meteorite specimen that do not fit into any of the defined pallasite groups.
  • Electrophonic bolide – a meteoroid which produces a measurable discharge of electromagnetic energy (EMP) during its passage through the atmosphere.
  • Enstatite achondrite – a meteorite that is mostly composed of enstatite. Usually part of the aubrite group.
  • Enstatite chondrite – a rare form of meteorite thought to comprise only 2% of chondrites.


  • Fall – a meteorite that was seen while it fell to Earth and found.
  • Find – a meteorite that was found without seeing it fall.
  • Fossil meteorite – a meteorite that was buried under layers of sediment before the start of the Quaternary period. Some or all of the original cosmic material has been replaced by diagenetic minerals.[2]: 320  (It is, however, not a fossil).
  • Fusion crust – a coating on meteorites that forms during their passage through the atmosphere.


  • Group – a collection of more than five meteorites sharing similar characteristics.[1]
  • Grouplet – a collection of fewer than five meteorites sharing similar characteristics.[1]


  • Hammer Stone – a specific individual meteorite that has hit either a human, man-made object, and/or an animal.
  • HED – abbreviation for three basaltic achondrite groups howardite, eucrite and diogenite.
  • HED meteorite – a clan of basaltic achondrites.
  • Hexahedrite – a structural class of iron meteorites having a relatively low nickel content
  • Hunter – a person who searches for meteorites.


  • Impact breccia – rock composed of fragments of terrestrial, extraterrestrial or mixed origin fused by the energy of impact
  • Impactite – informal term for a terrestrial rock resulting from the shocking impact of a meteor.
  • Iron–nickel alloy – an alternative expression for meteoric iron.
  • Iron meteorite – a meteorite that is mainly composed of meteoric iron.



  • Lodranite – member of a small group of primitive achondrites thought to derive from deeper within the same parent body as acapulcoites
  • Lunaite – a meteorite that originated from the moon (synonym of Lunar meteorite). Compare Category:Meteorites found on bodies other than Earth.
  • Lunar meteorite – a meteorite that originated from the Moon (synonym of Lunaite). Compare Category:Meteorites found on bodies other than Earth.


  • Main group pallasite – a pallasite belonging to the main group.
  • Main mass – the largest/heaviest piece of a fragmented meteorite, typically found in a strewn field.
  • Magmatic meteorite
  • Martian meteorite – a meteorite that originated from Mars. Compare Category:Meteorites found on bodies other than Earth.
  • Maskelynite – a natural glass found in meteorites.
  • Matrix – the mineral assemblage surrounding chondrules.
  • Mesosiderite – a grouping of stony-iron meteorite that are breccias.
  • Meteoric iron – a native metal found in meteorites and a mixture of different mineral phases. Compare telluric iron.
  • Meteorite Observation and Recovery Program – a scientific program that was centered in Canada.
  • Meteoriticist – a scientist working on meteorites, meteors, and meteoroids.
  • Meteoritics – the science of meteorites, meteors, and meteoroids.
  • MORP – abbreviation for Meteorite Observation and Recovery Program.
  • Micrometeorite – microscopic meteorites derived from Cosmic dust.


  • Nakhlite – a group of Martian meteorites
  • Neumann lines (or Neumann bands) – a pattern of fine parallel lines seen in some iron meteorites, thought to be due to impact events on the parent body
  • Nonmagmatic meteorite – (deprecated) iron meteorites that were thought to have not formed by igneous processes.


  • O – usually refers to ordinary chondrite
  • Observed fall – a meteorite that was seen when it fell to Earth.
  • Octahedrite – the most common structural class of iron meteorites.
  • Ordinary chondrite – a chondrite meteorite, where 'ordinary' means that it is the most common found


  • PAC – abbreviation for primitive achondrite.
  • Pallasite – a class of stony–iron meteorite.
  • Panspermia – the hypothesis that life could reach other planets by the means of meteorites and/or comets.
  • Parent body – the celestial body from which originates a meteorite or a class of meteorites.
  • Petrologic type – a classification scheme that expresses the degree to which a meteorite has been affected by the secondary processes of thermal metamorphism and aqueous alteration on the parent asteroid.
  • Pitts grouplet – a grouplet of meteorites that is part of the IAB meteorites.
  • Planetary achondrite – an achondrite that was differentiated on a planet and not a planetesimal or asteroid (See asteroidal achondrite).[3]
  • Plessite – a fine grained intergrowth found in meteoric iron consisting of kamacite, taenite and tetrataenite lamella.[4]
  • Presolar grains – interstellar solid matter in the form of tiny solid grains from a time before the Sun was formed.
  • Primitive meteorite
  • Primitive achondrite – a meteorite that has similarities to achondrites and chondrites.
  • Protoplanetary disk – a circumstellar disk from which all solids in the Solar System formed.
  • Pyroxene pallasite grouplet


Regmaglypts on Sikhote Alin



  • Taenite – a native metal (mineral) found in meteorites.
  • Tamdakht – a meteorite that fell near Ouarzazate, Morocco on 2008-12-20 producing a strewn field of approximately 25 km (16 mi) by 2 km (1.2 mi) and two small impact craters.
  • Tektite – glassy terrestrial debris created by meteorite impacts.
  • Total known weight (TKW) – total known mass of a meteorite.
  • Trio – a grouping of three meteorites that share similar characteristics (see Grouplet).
  • Type – subdivision of meteorites. Loosely defined. Usually refers to chondrite, achondrite and sometimes primitive achondrite.[1]





  1. ^ a b c d e M. K. Weisberg; T. J. McCoy, A. N. Krot (2006). "Systematics and Evaluation of Meteorite Classification" (PDF). In D. S. Lauretta; H. Y. McSween, Jr. (eds.). Meteorites and the early solar system II. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. pp. 19–52, 942. ISBN 978-0816525621. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
  2. ^ Schmitz, B.; Tassinari, M. (2001), "Fossil Meteorites", in Peucker-Ehrenbrink, B.; Schmitz, B. (eds.), Accretion of Extraterrestrial Matter Throughout Earth's History, New York: Springer, pp. 319–31, doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-8694-8_17, ISBN 978-1-4613-4668-5
  3. ^ Agee, C. B.; N.V. Wilson; F.M. McCubbin; Z.D. Sharp; K. Ziegler (2012). "Basaltic Breccia NWA 7034: New ungrouped planetary Achondrite" (PDF). 43rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (1659): 2690. Bibcode:2012LPI....43.2690A. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  4. ^ Goldstein, J. I.; Michael, J. R. (1 April 2006). "The formation of plessite in meteoritic metal". Meteoritics & Planetary Science. 41 (4): 553–70. Bibcode:2006M&PS...41..553G. doi:10.1111/j.1945-5100.2006.tb00482.x.
  5. ^ "regmaglypts". Meteorite or Meteorwrong?. Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  6. ^ "The Weston Meteorite (Yale Peabody Museum)". 7 December 2010.