Slag

Glassy and Vesicular = Slag

Many of the meteorwrong photos sent to us are of pieces of slag. Slag usually refers to a glassy by-product of smelting ores to retrieve the metal. I use the term here to also include any man-made, rock-like by-product of heating things to high temperature. Thus, clinkers are a form of slag. Slags catch people attention because of their morphology. Many slags contain metal from inefficient separation of metal from the ore and, thus, will attract a magnet. Two other common characteristics of most slags are that they are glassy (vitreous) and contain of vesicles (gas bubbles). Slags often have very rough exteriors, unlike any stony meteorite. Some show flow features in the glass and others have flat surfaces from having solidified in a contained space. Slags are sometimes used in road construction and as landscaping gravel, so they are more common than one might think.

I have not personally examined all the examples pictured here, but I suspect that most are slags. Some might be fulgurites – lithified soil and vaporized organic matter produced as a result of a lightning strike. Some might be products of electric discharges when high-voltage power lines fall to the ground. A few might actually be volcanic rocks. None of them are meteorites, however. None have fusion crusts!

Curiously, quite a few of the rocks that people describe as “it wasn’t there yesterday” look like slags to me.


Since 2004, a disturbed man from Sweden has sent me more than 10,000 pictures like these of rocks he claims to be from the Moon. They are all accompanied by words like “THE WORLD’S OUTSTANDING MOST BEAUTIFUL genuine Lunar breccia meteorite SWE2003 with gold fusion crust,” or “You will NOT find such genuine anorthositic rich extreme Lunar meteorites with rare green, gold and dark beautiful fusion crust on the Washington Lunar list and you can also see Mini-Moon spherules, untouched and not sliced!” None of these things are meteorites of any kind. They are slags.