UK Meteorites

LUXE discoveries for the collector

One of the Finest and largest collections of British and worldwide Meteorites can be found in the Natural History Museum collection in the country's capital London, England.

The British collection contains over 2,000 meteorites in approximately 5,000 individual rock fragments.

This also includes thousands of extraordinarily polished meteorite sections used for optical and electron microscopy, including tektites and other extraterrestrial specimen rocks.

Some highly-important highlights of the Museum's outstanding specimens are the non-Antarctic meteorites classified as Martian falls.

The two most significant of these are the Tissint and Nakhla. These two unique meteorites are on exhibit in the Vault gallery. Two other enigmatic specimens are Martien, Ivuna, Tissint, NWA7533 and an iron meteorite from Morocco, the Agoudal.





Museum Collection History + Early Discoveries

The meteorite collection started when the British Museum was presented in 1802 with the first documented meteorite falls. Joseph Banks donated the three historic stones.

The Wold Cottage meteorite (a chondrite meteorite that fell in Yorkshire, England on 13th December 1795. A small sliced example of which was sold by Christie's for £8750 in November 2014 ), the Krakhut stone ([Benares or Krakhut, India].

A shower of extraterrestrial stones or spherical chondrite, the largest recovered was 1 kg. fell around 8 p.m on the 19th December 1798) and the Siena stone (an LL5, Fell in Siena, Italy at 7:00 p.m. on 16th June 1794). Just about that time, the general public in Britain was beginning to accept the notion meteorites were natural phenomena.

Credit Christies auctioneers: The scientific community in the late 18th and early 19th Century was sceptical that rocks could fall from the sky, but three events helped them change their minds: The first was a treatise by German physicist Ernst Chladni proposing that fireballs are associated with meteorite falls; the second was a set of analyses by English chemist Edward Howard showing that purported meteorites had similar compositions and contained the rare element nickel; the third was a list of reports of several widely witnessed and well-documented falls including that of Wold Cottage.

Three eyewitnesses in Yorkshire had heard an explosion overhead and saw the 25-kg mass emerge from the clouds and strike the ground. A local magistrate obtained sworn accounts from others who listened to the rock's passage through the air or observed the fireball. Wold Cottage is also one of only four meteorites in which the iron sulfide troilite (FeS), ubiquitous in meteorites but virtually unknown on Earth, was first described in 1802 (by French Mineralogist Jacques-Louis, Comte de Bournon).


Collecting Meteorites

The rules for collecting have been debated over centuries. In the late nineteen Century, in a test case between South Staffordshire Water Co. v. Sharman (1896) 2 Q.B. the common law decided any fall found on private land becomes the property of the said owner. However, no U.K. body has tested the question to its fruition to date.


Fun Facts

Scientists detected small pockets of carbon dioxide-rich liquid water in a meteorite dating from an ancient asteroid that formed in our early solar system some 4.6 billion years ago. A finding that provides direct evidence of the dynamic evolution of the solar system.