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Meteorite Test, Fast, Easy and Cheap!
ASTROBLEME
post Apr 21 2016, 02:44 PM
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Hello Meteorite Hunters:

I wanted to let you know about my chemical testing for nickel in the sample of the suspected Westcliffe Meteorite that is discussed in the Space and Astronomy thread. If you have found a suspected meteorite, there is some good information on the web about identification, but if the specimen is not a "fresh fall" or otherwise lacking a fusion crust, you will likely have difficulty in getting a proper determination as to what is is. In order to avoid spending hundreds of dollars on labs and research scientists, this is what I do for quick analysis of my suspected meteorite samples. You'll need an eyedropper, two glass vials, muriatic acid, clear ammonia and a bottle of Nickel Alert Detect. Follow all precautions and warning labels on the products.

METHOD USED FOR WESTCLIFFE METEORITE NICKEL DETERMINATION
I separated a small fraction of metallic grains from the Westcliffe Meteorite using a magnet on material that had been crushed down to 200 mesh. These tiny grains were placed in a clean glass vial and submerged in 3 drops of muriatic acid for two hours. By then, the acid had taken on a slight greenish hue so it was transferred away from the metallic grains into separate glass vial for further processing (Vial Transfer.jpg). Two drops of “Nickel Alert”, a commercially available dimethyglyoxime solution used for nickel testing was added to the vial. Intense red coloration formed when the Nickel Alert was mixed in but the color quickly faded away (DMG drops.jpg). Clear ammonia was then added into the vial drop-by-drop until the coloration stabilized (final result.jpg).

RESULTS
Given the small sample size, the deep red coloration is indicative of substantial nickel content. Photos of the process are attached below. If you do not see a pink or red coloration, then you likely don't have a meteorite. Only a very few meteorites contain no nickel and the authentication for those specimens will take years and LOTS of money to accomplish.

GOOD LUCK thumbsupsmileyanim.gif

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"Some day this crater is going to be a greatly talked about place, and if the above credit is due, as is certainly the case, I would like to have it generally known for the sake of the children." Daniel Moreau Barringer 2/1/1912 in a letter about the Barringer Meteorite Crater, Arizona USA
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MikeS
post Apr 21 2016, 08:20 PM
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That is awesome ASTROBLEME! What a great way to test for nickel content. I hope to find a meteorite someday. This could save me time and money if I find a suspect rock. Thanks! thumbsupsmileyanim.gif


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CP
post Apr 22 2016, 08:55 AM
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signs021.gif

Nice test procedure and pics Johnny, thanks for the info. I'll bet many can use this test in the future for their own pieces found. happy088.gif




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ASTROBLEME
post Apr 24 2016, 01:21 PM
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I thought it might be a good idea to "test the test" so I dug out Woody's specimen that was discussed in the Meteorite or Meteorwrong? thread. I used the same procedures and a similar sample size. Of note was the reaction from acid treatment was a clear solution not a light green-yellow as in the Westcliffe Meteorite. As the solution was balanced, instead of a red or pink color indicating nickle content, a dark brown color formed.

The result on this test supports the previous opinion of meteorwrong for that find. I think this is a useful test and another piece of evidence that is needed to prove up a meteorite specimen.

Thanks go out to Woody for letting me keep a piece of his sample.

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"Some day this crater is going to be a greatly talked about place, and if the above credit is due, as is certainly the case, I would like to have it generally known for the sake of the children." Daniel Moreau Barringer 2/1/1912 in a letter about the Barringer Meteorite Crater, Arizona USA
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Woody
post Apr 26 2016, 04:41 PM
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Nice & simple method Johnny, Thanks.

It would of been nice if those had turned out to be something. I guess they did turn out to be useful as a training aid. It was the first time I ever sat down and
learned the process for Meteorite identification. These were a close possible fit so it made a person pay attention to detail. In the end though we found 3 out of
10 distinct differences.

I do have a small piece about the size of your thumb that I have high hopes for. It is the one that appears to have fusion crust as well, "you seen it the last time
you were here". When I can get around to it I will use your Nickel testing method and let you know what I come up with.


On a side-note ...... Buyer Beware!
Although I parlayed against it, I know of at least one specimen of these Metorwrongs that was sold to a rock shop up in Denver for 50 Bucks. The guy figures
it was a close enough fit that someone would buy them.


Take Care, Woody.


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CP
post Aug 27 2017, 02:06 PM
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Saw this link today and thought it might be handy to add in here for folks to use on their suspected meteorite finds to make a positive meteorite id or not.
Meteorite Identification in 7 easy steps thumbsupsmileyanim.gif


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