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Why iron meteorites make landfall but chondrites explode

13 December 2017

Why iron meteorites reach the surface of the Earth but chondrites and conglomerate meteors tend to explode in the atmosphere – breaking into many pieces and leaving small scatters on the surface. It's all to do with air penetrating cavities in rocky meteorites causing them to weaken and explode apart. In other words, our atmosphere naturally protects the surface from the hazard of real meteorites – but there are always exceptions to the rule. Large chondrites have the ability to penetrate much closer to the surface – or even reach the surface. Iron meteorites, even small ones, are denser and tend to reach the surface – most of the time. See https://phys.org/print432196926.html

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