Tan-toned beauties and the mystery of their formation

Today I present tan-toned beauties from space! Most micrometeorites are black, but occasionally I find pale particles in a variety of brown tones: Most appear more yellow, while others have a green-ish or darker brown tinge. A very small number have a milky appearance.

For example, NMM 1611 is a porhyritic olivine (PO) type micrometeorite measuring approximately 0.3 mm. This lovely particle features a brown-ish yellow color with interesting lines on the lower half and a great chasm on the top. There are also a few shiny crystals along the top that catch the light, just so.

The full explanation for this pale coloring, is still somewhat of a mystery. Hopefully the new micrometeorite hunting season will shed some light! In our Atlas of Micrometeorites, however, there is one explanation: Oxidation. Apparently the longer exposure to Earth’s oxygenic atmosphere during the formation could be responsible for the color change. If this is correct, it would indicate a low entry angle and possibly an unusual origin.

Here is a wonderful collage featuring twelve pale, tan-toned micrometeorites discovered by yours truly and photographed by Jan Braly Kihle. Enjoy!

A collage of 12 tan-toned Project Stardust micrometeorites discovered and photographed by Jon Larsen and Jan Braly Kihle
A collage of twelve rare, tan-toned micrometeorites. © Project Stardust, 2022.

Intrigued by the mystery? Stay tuned on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to be the first to hear updates!

Yours truly,

Jon Larsen

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.

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Jon Larsen & Jan Braly Kihle

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