DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Micrometeorite collected from the sandy shores of the eastern United States. Micrometeorites are small microscopic particles (<2mm) of rock from space (chondrites) that have survived entry in to the earth's atmosphere. They range from unmelted particles that retain much of their original mineralogy to totally melted cosmic spherules of which most have lost a significant portion of their mass by vaporization. They formed when various types of dust and small grains, that were present in the early solar system, accreted to form primitive asteroids. They date back to the origin of the solar system. Micrometeorites can be easy found on sandy beaches by dragging strong magnets over the sand. Once collected the small meteorite fragments can be sorted out from other contaminating iron particles. Magnification: x59 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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