The “Meteorite meter”: A handheld instrument for the combined measurement of magnetic susceptibility and electrical conductivity, with application to meteorite identification and classificationOPEN ACCESS 

Minoru Uehara, Jérôme Gattacceca

MAPS, Version of Record online: 18 October 2023


“We developed a simple, handheld, and user-friendly magnetic susceptibility meter specialized for the identification of meteorites. The measurement is based on an LC resonance circuit. When provided with a rough estimate of the sample mass, the instrument displays directly the mass-normalized magnetic susceptibility expressed in logχm (with χm in 10−9 m3 kg−1), a parameter that is widely used in the classification of meteorites. Moreover, the measurement of the impedance of the LC resonator provides a proxy of the electrical conductivity (C-index) that can be helpful to distinguish metal-bearing samples from magnetite-bearing samples. This C-index offers an additional diagnostic for the identification of meteorites. Our tests demonstrate that the precision and the accuracy of this instrument called “Meteorite meter” (MetMet) are sufficient to allow distinguishing most meteorites from most terrestrial rocks, for a minimum recommended sample mass of 5 g. The distinction of some meteorite groups is also possible, in particular the separation of the three ordinary chondrite groups. Meteorite hunters, collectors, and curators and non-specialists, including children, can use this instrument as a guidance in the identification and classification of meteorites. This kind of instrument has an immense advantage over the widely used testing of meteorites with magnets, as it does not affect the paleomagnetic records of meteorites that are highly valuable for scientists.”