Post by vegasjames on Feb 17, 2019 1:36:22 GMT -5
vegasjames , I can only imagine how mad that would have made me. As for the test, I'd read that university labs took a long time but I never would have thought it would take 12 years!
After years without any luck it was just part of my routine to check likely looking rocks with a magnet. I nearly peed my pants when the magnet clicked onto the side of that rock and stuck.
The person that helped me out knew another collector who was a buyer and had plans to meet him at an upcoming show. He said the pictures looked promising, so I mailed him a sample. The buyer had a gun-type instrument that could analyze the nickel content. The rest you know. I still keep an eye out and a magnet in my rock bag...
Also depends on the meteorite. Iron meteorites take on average 9 years for classification. And rare meteorites such as martian, lunar or angrite meteorites can take as long if not longer since they undergo more testing.
And many labs are very back logged since more people have been sending in rocks they think are meteorites due to shows like Meteorite Men and news reports over-inflating some values.
That would be a hand held X-ray fluorescence spectrometer. Been wanting one but the good ones are around $40,000 new.
Don't know what pics you sent him but external pics sometimes can definitely rule a stone out but internal pics are the best since you can look for things like chondrules and iron-nickel inclusions.
If you suspect you have a meteorite then the best thing to start with is cutting off a sample then sanding off any saw blade metal. Then nickel test the sample by first dabbing DILUTE hydrochloric acid on the surface. Wait about 20 seconds for any nickel present to ionize. The put 4 drops of household ammonia on a cotton swab then 4 drops of dimethylglyoxime solution (DMG in denatured alcohol). Roll the cotton swab with the solutions on the acid treated surface. If it turns cherry red then nickel is present and it is worth pursuing. If not then you unlikely have a meteorite. There are rare exceptions where meteorites do not contain nickel, but this is extremely uncommon.
By the way labs hate when people use magnets on meteorites since it messes up their magnetic signature, which is one of the things they test for.
Also a no-no is handling the specimen too much as skin oils, etc or cutting with dirty water contaminate the samples they are testing for things such as amino acids, nucleic acids, sugars, alcohols, extraterrestrial water, etc.