Regmaglypts

Regmaglypts are shallow, thumbprint-like depressions on the surface of larger meteorites that are formed by preferential local ablation of material from the surface as a meteor passes through the Earth’s atmosphere. They are probably formed by vortices of hot gas. Any meteorite with regmaglypts will have a fusion crust. Many meteorites with fusion crusts do not have regmaglypts, however.

Here are photographs of a few examples.  (I collect meteorite photos and do not remember where I obtained some of these photos.)

Lunar meteorite Northwest Africa 482. Regmaglypts are present on the left but not the right. Image credit: Jim Strope

MacAlpine Hills 88108, a 15.4-lb H5 chondrite from Antarctica. Image credit: Randy Korotev

This large meteorite, Lewis Cliff 85320 (H5 chondrite, (244 lbs) has lots of regmaglypts. Photo credit: NASA/JSC

Even this small meteorite (on the ice in Antarctica) has regmaglypts. Photo credit: Randy Korotev

One of the Camel Donga stones from Australia. Photo credit: Jim Strope

Unidentified meteorite found in Nevada with regmaglypts and a grasshopper. Photo credit: I’ve forgotten. Let me know if this great photo is yours.

This is a pretty one. Photo credit: ?

Unidentified meteorite with regmaglypts: Photo credit: ?

Regmaglypts on iron meteorites can be spectacular. Here are small fragments of Sikhote-Alin, an iron meteorite. All of the biggest have regmaglypts. Photo credit: Randy Korotev


Not all dimples and depressions are meteorite regmaglypts.