A meteorite is a naturally occurring solid object from space that survives the destructive effects of flight through Earth’s atmosphere and falls to the ground in one or more pieces. Meteorites are classified in two ways—a fall or a find. A find is when a person discovers a meteorite on the ground, but did not see it fall there. Much rarer is a fall, when a person actually sees a meteorite fall through the atmosphere, and strike the ground.
Meteorites may be classified by their composition—they may be predominantly rock (stony meteorites) or mostly metallic (iron meteorites) or a combination (stony-iron meteorites).
Meteorites on exhibit include many of those acquired by the State of Texas during early geological surveys, and those added since that time for both research and display. Especially notable are the large Kimble and Wichita meteorites, and a meteorite collected from the Odessa impact crater.
Learn more about the impact history of Texas and elsewhere at IMPACT: TEXAS, an interactive computer module in the exhibit.
For more information about meteorites visit the Non-vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory.