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Old 01-14-2017, 12:01 PM
Alex Vrenios Alex Vrenios is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 10
Default Micro Meteorites

I read that 60,000 tons of meteorites hit the Earth every year and that the tiniest of them, micro meteorites, can be captured by various means. One of these employed a high-walled pan with an inch or two of water in it. The water slows them down and the high walls prevent ordinary debris from getting in. (Well, it keeps it to a minimum, anyway.)

I set a 9x12 inch tray of water in an open part of my yard away from trees, for a couple of days. I put a strong magnet inside a plastic baggie and dragged it along the bottom to collect any iron-based micro meteorites. I then removed the magnet and wiped the outside of the baggie on a multi-layered sheet of paper towel.

I have access to a pretty good microscope. Once the paper towel absorbed most of the water, I took a look. I saw a lot of odd shaped black specks, which were probably just dust or dirt, nothing I would be so bold as to label a micro meteorite! Do an image search for them. They look like shiny little spherical beads.

Regarding the estimated 60,000 tons of meteorites hitting the Earth each year, one article distributed this debris over the surface area of the Earth, estimating 10 micrograms of meteorites per square foot, per year. So my tray didn’t stand much of a chance. Personally, I don’t believe each square foot of the Earth’s surface would be hit with equal probability, but even a corrected estimate wouldn’t help much.

On the up side, seeing a moist paper towel’s fibers under a microscope was like looking through an ice cave. Almost worth the effort.

If you try this, I hope you have better luck!

Alex
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