Types of meteorite

There are three main groups of meteorite. They differ in the amount of iron-nickel metal they contain.

  • iron meteorites are almost completely metal
  • stony-iron meteorites have nearly equal amounts of metal and silicate crystals
  • stony meteorites are dominated by silicate minerals

Each group of meteorites is split into many more classes and types depending on the minerals they contain, their chemistry and their structure.

  • Iron meteorite
    Iron meteorites

    Most iron meteorites are thought to be the cores of asteroids that melted early in their history. They consist mainly of iron-nickel metal with small amounts of sulphide and carbide minerals.

  • Stony iron
    Stony-iron meteorites

    Stony-iron meteorites consist of almost equal amounts of iron-nickel metal and silicate minerals and are amongst the most beautiful of meteorites.

  • Stony meteorite
    Stony meteorites

    The majority of meteorite falls are stony meteorites consisting mainly of silicate minerals.

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Our fossil insect collection includes Rhyniognatha hirsti, the world's oldest fossil insect, dating back some 400 million years.