The Catalogue of Meteorites

Basic data from the catalogue is now online.

The Catalogue of Meteorites is the world taxonomic database of all meteorite falls and finds.

The first edition was published in 1847 and consisted of a three-page pamphlet listing the 62 Meteorites in the British Museum, the natural history collections of which went on to become the British Museum (Natural History) now The Natural History Museum. Twenty similar catalogues of first The Collection of Aërolites, and then The Collection of Meteorites, followed at regular intervals up until 1877. In 1881 the newly appointed Keeper of Minerals, Lazarus Fletcher, included a discussion 'on meteorites' with the catalogue. This evolved through 11 editions, the discussion, or 'guide', growing from 17 to 58 pages. In 1923 George Prior, Fletcher's successor as Keeper of the Mineral Department, published the first global Catalogue of Meteorites ('with special reference to those represented in the collection of the British Museum (Natural History)'). Max Hey continued the Catalogue, first publishing supplements to Prior's work in 1927 and 1940 and then second and third editions of the Catalogue in 1953 and 1966. A fourth edition, edited by Andrew Graham, Alex Bevan and Robert Hutchison, was published in 1985. The fifth edition of the Catalogue of Meteorites, published in September 2000 by Cambridge University Press, expands the information incorporated into previous editions. It includes the names of all well-authenticated meteorites known up to December 1999 (22,507 in total), even if no material has been preserved.

The printed version of the Catalogue is accompanied by a CD-ROM containing the database that is the Catalogue of Meteorites. The Catalogue is simply a template into which information about a meteorite, or set of meteorites, is called. The template is a form with seven 'pages', each page covering specific types of information, on locality, classification, analytical data, bibliography etc.

Information from the Catalogue is also summarised in the following tables, downloadable as text files:

  • Summary statistics, by class and by location (summary.rtf; 112kb)
  • Full classification list (class.rtf; 132kb)
  • Full location list (geog.rtf; 150kb)