Widmanstätten pattern

  • Exhibition Text

    • In the cores of differentiated asteroids, iron crystallized in a pattern not found on earth.

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  • For Educators

    • Topic: Earth Science

      Subtopic: Meteorites

      Keywords: Astrophysics, Iron-nickel alloys, Mineralogy, Astrogeology, Asteroids, Meteorites, Iron

      Audience: General

In This Section

Coahuila

Coahuila

No crystal pattern is visible in Coahuila, because the entire meteorite is part of a single, immense crystal.

Linwood

Linwood

In meteorites with the coarsest patterns, such as Linwood (above) and Mount Joy (right), the crystals are not flat plates. 

Mount Joy

Mount Joy

In meteorites with the coarsest patterns, such as Linwood (above) and Mount Joy (right), the crystals are not flat plates.

Carlton

Carlton

These medium- and fine-grained meteorites have much thinner crystals than the coarse-grained samples above.

Owens Valley

Owens Valley

These medium- and fine-grained meteorites have much thinner crystals than the coarse-grained samples above.

Gibeon

Gibeon

A dark band of iron sulfide marks the boundary between two sections of crystals that grew until they ran into each other.

Tinnie

Tinnie

Tinnie is an ataxite, meaning it has a very fine-grained crystal pattern.

Willamette

Willamette

Willamette once had a Widmanstätten structure similar to the one in Owens Valley (above).