Identifying Meteorites: Let’s say you dig something up that you think might be a meteorite. You know it’s not a hot rock because it’s got what looks like fusion crust, it’s also magnetic, and has thumbprints or regmaglypts. Is it heavier than a normal rock of this size? Does it have chondrules? Chondrules are round spherical shaped inclusions within the matrix of the meteorite. Chodrules are found, and rightly so, in Chondrite meteorites. Chondrites are the most common typ of meteorite and most chondrite classification are whats called “Ordinary Chondrites”. There are other more rare types like the carbonaceous chondrite, or the achondrite, which has no chondrules at all. Read this article for more info on chondrules. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chondrule
Chondrule Photos: http://www.meteorite.com/meteorite-gallery/meteorite-pages/pc-out-of-this-world.htm
Chondrules are small (1mm to 10mm) sized spheroids inside a meteorite.
"Most chondrules are composed primarily of the silicate minerals olivine and pyroxene, surrounded by feldspathic material that may either be glassy or crystalline." SOURCE: Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chondrule
Fusion Crust: This is another unique identifying characteristic of meteorites. Fusion crust is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the burned crust like outer layer of the stone which is formed when it enters out atmosphere. It heats up, melts the exterior of the meteoroid and forms a crust. Not unlike burnt toast in your toaster or when you leave a pizza in the oven too long. ;) Most crust is dark brown to black in color, sometimes smooth and sometimes exhibiting small cracks in the surface.
Here’s a great article complete with photos: http://meteorites.wustl.edu/id/fusioncrust.htm
Magnet Test: Of course what meteorite identification would be complete without a magnet test. Simple take any strong magnet and touch it to the specimen, if it sticks then you are one step closer to it being a meteorite. There are terrestrial rocks that resemble meteorites and sometimes it’s hard for the experts to tell if it’s really a meteorite. If this happens then lab tests must be made to properly identify the specimen as a meteorite.
Meteorite Tests: http://meteorite-identification.com/streak.html
How To Identify A Meteorite: http://www.meteoritemarket.com/metid1.htm
Sometimes when you find a rock that meets all the criteria, but you know it’s not a meteorite then you’ve got yourself a “meteorwrong”. A kind of an anecdotal term used to describe anything that looks like a meteorite but isn’t anything other than a terrestrial rock.
MeteorWrong Gallery: http://meteorites.wustl.edu/meteorwrongs/meteorwrongs.htm
If you are sure you have a meteorite after doing all the above tests and verifications then CONGRATULATIONS on finding a meteorite. You are one of the lucky few to have found your very own rock from space.