Micrometeorite Type: Barred Olivine
Found: Golden Valley, Minnesota, USA in 2023
Additional Information: Micrometeorite presented in olive green slide. Accompanied by a 8 x 10 photograph and specimen identification card, all handsomely mounted in a 12″ x 12″ sleek black frame set off with slate grey accents.
Notes of Interest: Barred Olivines (BO) are formed at lower temperatures, around 3300 degrees Fahrenheit. They are the most commonly-found variety of micrometeorite; BO spherules can easily be identified by the parallel bars of olivine that tend to run perpendicular to the length of the micrometeorite itself. Some BOs will have nickel-iron beads protruding from their surface; in essence, little metal beads frozen in time. As the particle enters the atmosphere, it melts. Heavier metals sink to the core and if the micrometeorite is spinning rapidly, heavier metal beads are forced outward. If the micrometeorite is stable, however, the heavier metal will have more inertia, thus continuing its travel as the particle slows down. In both cases, the metal bead is frozen as the liquid sphere crystalizes.
The Smallest Meteorites on Earth: Micrometeorites
Micrometeorites are tiny particles of extraterrestrial origin that regularly fall to Earth—an estimated 5,200 to 7,000 metric tons of micrometeorites enter Earth’s atmosphere every year. Because of their small size, most micrometeorites burn up upon entering the atmosphere, so only a fraction—about 100 metric tonnes a day—make it to Earth as meteorites. These microscopic objects, which range in size from a few microns to a few millimeters, are fragments of comets, asteroids, and other bodies in the solar system.
In many ways, these micros can not be compared to their larger cousin, the meteorite. Unlike meteorites, micrometeorites melt completely and recrystallize upon entry into our atmosphere. Though they are small, they are incredibly important because they provide scientists with a wealth of information about the early solar system and the processes that formed it.
It is extremely challenging to hunt for and identify micrometeorites. Only a handful of people around the globe embark on such an undertaking. Aerolite is extremely honored to offer genuine micrometeorites and their accompanying photographs with find locations and dates.
As a side note, an incredible amount of work goes into creating each micrometeorite image. On average, 500 individual images are stacked and stitched together to create each close-up photo. We are pleased to present micrometeorites, their photographs, and impressive framed sets.