Stream or River

If you found it in a stream bed, along a river, or any other place where there are lots of rocks and water, then it is almost certainly not a meteorite.

Why? (1) Most meteorites aren’t stable in water. The metal will have rusted and the stone will have broken apart. (2) A meteorite in a stream bed would have it’s fusion crust worn off by abrasion against other rocks. There would be no way to identify it as a meteorite unless rusty metal was evident. You are not gong to find a meteorite in a river or stream.

Two Exceptions

1) Some Glacial Moraines

I took the photo below in a glacial moraine in Antarctica known as “Meteorite Moraine.” This is a very special place, and hard to get to. There is at least one meteorite in the photo. Click here if you can’t find it. I’m unaware of any meteorites having been found in glacial moraines of Europe, North America, or South America, although a couple of those from Greenland may have been from moraines.

2) Desert Pavement

Some deserts are good places to look for meteorites; others are not. Many deserts are paved with stones (alluvium) that have weathered off the surrounding mountains. Many meteorites have been found on desert pavements

Desert pavement of the Chihuahuan desert of North America. The rocks in this photo are mostly limestones. In the western Hemisphere, many meteorites have been found in the deserts of western North America, Central Mexico, and Chile.

A meteorite on a desert pavement in Libya. By far, the most hot-desert meteorites are from northern Africa.

A meteorite on a desert pavement in Morocco.

Lunar meteorite Dhofar 1084 perched on the desert pavement of Oman. Image credit: Siegfried Haberer

A meteorite on desert pavement.