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Micrometeorites

New micrometeorite, NMM 2952, is a rare barred olivine enigma

At times a micrometeorite is not what it appears to be at first glance, under the light microscope. Further studies completed with scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) or ultra-high resolution imaging often reveal additional details. Today, I present an exceptionally rare enigma, NMM 2952, that is not at all what it first appeared to be.

Measuring approximately 0.3 mm, NMM 2952 seemed to be a rather ordinary smooth cryptocrystalline (CC) type micrometeorite with a nickel-iron bead in the front. However, our during our photography session, which uses a special technique developed by yours truly and Jan Braly Kihle, we discovered that it is in fact a tremendously rare variety!

A Great Surprise!

We learned that NMM 2952 is actually a barred olivine (BO) type micrometeorite with huge amounts of glass! Now, it is not unusual that BO-type micrometeorites have some surplus of glass. This can be due to insufficient time or temperature after the atmospheric pulse heating, which would not have allowed the glass to recrystallize. However, having a whole section that remains in its glass formation is very rare indeed! In fact, I have seen this phenomenon only once before. Both of these extraordinary micrometeorites are pictured here and the green once can be found in my Atlas of Micrometeorites.

You may or may not know that there are common transitional stages between glass (V) type and CC-type micrometeorites. There are also common intermediate stages between CC-type and barred olivine BO-type micrometeorites. But between V-type and BO-type, with this much glass, I’ve only seen these two.

Any time I see a new micrometeorite for in all its splendor under the camera, I experience a deep sense of awe. In this case, I felt true astonishment and gratitude for having found another rare and beautiful space gem.

I hope you enjoyed learning about it and would love for you to come join in on my adventures on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Yours truly,

Jon Larsen

NMM 2952 and NMM 976 are barred olivine micrometeorites with abundant glass discovered and photographed by Project Stardust founder Jon Larsen and Jan Braly Kihle
NMM 2952 and NMM 976 are barred olivine micrometeorites with abundant glass, discovered and photographed by Project Stardust founder Jon Larsen and Jan Braly Kihle. © Project Stardust, 2022.

Just in case you're new here!

Together we have amassed the world's most expansive collection of micrometeorites and we can't wait to share it with you.

Whether you're an expert in the field, an art collector with an appetite for treasures from space, or a budding stardust enthusiast, we hope you'll enjoy learning about our work.

Connect with us on social media to share the excitement of seeing new micrometeorites for the first time!

Jon Larsen & Jan Braly Kihle

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WINTER 2022 COLLECTION

Meet this season's micrometeorites

This season's collection features a variety of stunning micrometeorites. From mountainous cryptocrystalline turtlebacks and bewitching glass spherules to ultra rare giants. Available for a limited time only.

NMM 1448: V-TYPE

NMM 1448:  V-TYPE

Glass / Vitreous

Glass or vitreous type (V-type) micrometeorites each a temperature of up to 2000°C (3600°F) as they descend through the atmosphere..

These delicate, translucent spherules are difficult to find due to their lack of magnetism, since most of their metals evaporated during descent. 

NMM 1359:  CC-TYPE

Crypto-crystalline

Cryptocrystalline (CC-type) micrometeorites are composed of glassy particles with fine-grained crystallites that are too small to recognize as individual grains.

Many of these magnificent spherules feature metal beads and aerodynamic forms, while others have a "turtleback" shape with humps distributed evenly around the spherule.

NMM 1359:  CC-TYPE

NMM 500:  BO-TYPE

Barred Olivine

Barred olivine (BO-type) spherules are coarse-grained  micrometeorites made of the magnesium variety of the mineral olivine, forsterite, which is punctuated with small particles of magnetite.

The surface features striations that are formed when iron reacts with oxygen in the atmosphere. 

NMM 500:  BO-TYPE

NMM 1149:  PO-TYPE

Porphyritic Olivine

Porphyritic olivine (PO-type) micrometeorites are also made of forsterite, a type of olivine that is made of magnesium.

There are many morphological varieties of this type of micrometeorite; From evenly distributed small crystals, to crystals that increase in side, to extremely large or even possibly a single olivine crystal.

NMM 1149:  PO-TYPE

NMM 1271:  Sc-TYPE

Scoriaceous

When stardust does not reach a peak temperature of at least 1350°C (2500°F) during entry and deceleration, it barely melts. Volatile elements expand and escape in the form of gas bubbles, which results in a scoriaceous (SC-type) or vesicular micrometeorite.

Micrometeorites of this type are extremely difficult to find.

NMM 1271:  SC-TYPE

NMM 1271: G-, I-, CAT-typeS

Other Types

From G-types with dark silicate glass, I-types dominated by iron, and milky CAT spherules  enriched with calcium, aluminum, and titanium, to fossil, unmelted, and un-categorized micrometeorites.

There is no question that Jon Larsen and Jan Braly Kihle's contributions have had a dramatic effect on the field.

NMM 1271:  G-/I-/CAT-TYPES

Jon and Jan are
EXCEPTIONAL ARTISTS AND SCIENTISTS. 

Michael Zolensky

NASA JOhnson Space Center

SEM Collection

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Never forget: YOU ARE SURROUNDED BY STARDUST, inside and out.

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FIREBALL: Visitors from Darker Worlds

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From directors Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer, this remarkable journey across our planet and universe explores how meteorites, shooting stars, and deep impacts have awoken our wonder about other realms-and make us rethink our destinies.

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of Micrometeorites

Never before has it been possible to see stardust in such a large format with crisp details. The 500+ color images are made possible by a new photo technology developed for this project by the author and mineralogist Jan Braly Kihle. 

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The Atlas of Micrometeorites provides an INVALUABLE RESOURCE
for stardust hunters around the world.

Matthew Genge

Imperial College, London

ORIGIN STORIES

Jon Larsen revolutionized the study of micrometeorites when he became the first person to discover a micrometeorite from an urban environment. Then a new form of art emerged when he and Jan Braly Kihle created the world's first high resolution photographs of micrometeorites in colour.

Learn about the singular moment that led to Jon's groundbreaking discovery
and the phone call that kickstarted a truly epic friendship.

Jon Larsen revolutionized the study of micrometeorites when he became the first person to discover a micrometeorite from an urban environment. Then a new form of art emerged when he and Jan Braly Kihle created the world's first high resolution photographs of micrometeorites in colour.

Learn about the singular moment that led to Jon's groundbreaking discovery and the phone call that kickstarted a truly epic friendship.

I HAVE TO KNOW

I'm ready. TEACH ME.

Micrometeorites

Jon Larsen and Jan Braly Kihle have amassed the world's most expansive collection of urban micrometeorites and they want you to follow in their footsteps.

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HALLO and welcome!

We're Jon Larsen & Jan Braly Kihle

We are world renowned micrometeorite experts here to share our cosmic art and inspire the world to become star hunters.

STARDUST
is everywhere