Posted by: T. Boyd | April 10, 2010

Another attempt – micrometeorites

This time I have collected rain water and will try wrapping a strong magnet in plastic wrap, where the magnetic face will be nice and smooth.

Then I will swish it around in the pan with the water, hoping it will attract iron particles strong enough so that when I remove the wrapped plastic from the water, those particles will adhere to the surface.

I will next, place the wrapped magnet into a shallow plate of water, carefully unfold the plastic wrap so I can lift the magnet away, and leave the particles, if any, behind in the plate.  Then I will remove the plastic wrap off of the water surface, hoping that the particles will fall off into the water.

[added later:]  Finally, I will place the plate of water under a clip-on light as a heat source to evaporate the water.  Using some “sticky notes” I will collect the particles left on the plate and examine them under a microscope.

I will let you know if this technique works.  I got the idea from one of the references in my original article.

[ Note:  the results were “null” – see my last comment below.]

P.S. We are busy getting our house ready to sell and find a new home in Richmond, VA.  So my writing has dwindled considerably.  I hope it will become regular again after this huge adjustment in life.  🙂



  1. Dave, I finally “scoped” the last samples and nada! Nothing. Now, one thing I am doing that may be different. I am gathering the samples with “sticky notes” by wiping them over the dried ceramic plate, and then I place the stick side down on a glass microscope slide, then turning the slide over to put under the microscope with the slide illuminated from above. I insert a thin “refrigerator magnet” under the slide and move it slightly to detect any iron/nickle ore particles.

    That is my criteria for finding a MM. If I do the same type slide with tiny iron filings, like used in a physics laboratory, the iron particles vigorously move when the magnet is moved. They are also “stuck” between a sticky note and a glass slide. So I think I should see the same kind of motion.

    What do you think?

  2. Hi Boyd..Aha ! yes know I know who..sorry no relative..I did read this week about the ‘Gestimated’ Micro-Ms but I do honestly think 100 tons in a bit low considering my good friend who sells meteorites for a living say 30,000 tons for big lumpy ones, he also says that the figure for Micro-Ms should be about 10,000 tons per year, that I would find more acceptable. Well at the moment I am experimenting with magnetic fluids (Ferro Ferric oxide) or magnetite, we have a good natural supply here in devon, what I am trying to do is dope the magnetite to make it perform better. I do have my own home brewed formula to make micro fine. if you want it..just give a bell..its yours.
    Going back to the lab now, will write tomorrow.


  3. Ray Bradbury = a famous sci. fiction author – his most popular work was Fahrenheit 451 and is used in lots of literature classes.

    Do some astronomers still say that 100 tons or so of micro m’s fall each on day on the earth? Anyway, it makes sense that you would find them everywhere exposed to the sky. That’s interesting what you are doing.

  4. Hi Boyd..Dave here.
    Presently I am gaining more sorces of Micro ms .the sorce is soil and it is proving to be quite good. to do so take about 100 g of garden soil and dump in water, gave a good agitation to break up lumps and leave overnight, The following morning with a T/tube + magnet give it all a gentle swish, then remove the T/T magnet (with the magnet still in place) and rinse with H20 gently to retain the mag bits on the end of the T/T then pull out the magnet and wash into a separate beaker, I then ,in my method took all the magnetics and placed in a further beaker to add 20 mls of Cillit Bang and allow to stirr overnight, this takes out any rusty stuff wich is magnetic and can be a problem under the M/Scope. So far I have about 200 M/Ms and I am awaiting some ring slides, once I have them I will send some pix if you wish. Sadly at the moment I cannot see how I can send you any pix. is there a way ?..Oh yes, thats my real last name, most are living in Devon but originated from Derbyshire UK at a small town named Buxworth near Buxton both in Derbyshire. I dont know a Ray you ? So good to chat with you. Last sunday my dear other half did a survey in the local rivers in the partly static parts, I got a very poor responce but its obvious why, because thems tiny micros are so tiny that they ‘hide’ in the bottom sediment and do get crushed about a bit, we did find one dry gully passing under the pub in Harberton villiage, in all from that sample I got 5 micro Ms. Also have you looked at possible ‘contamination’ of look alikes ? in this test I visited the local small engineering works and collected 50 g of grind stone dust, from the 50g mass I got 11 spheres but under my M/Scope they do look quite different..more like very black and shiny also they do not have surface features that look like erosion that is seen on larger Mets, although they are magnetic, I have founf none like the foundry particles in the local sorces I use. If you have time with your soon house move (which is so traumatic) I would be delighted to have your comments. Thanks for writing back Boyd. I now have someone to share findings with and that is good for myself. Do have a good day and I honestly look forward to your contacts.
    Dave Bradbury..Brixham..devon UK

  5. Hi. Read your aticle. good to see we have a good scientific thinker and doer. My method is very simlar to you own and it is so important to cover the magnet otherwize its not possible to remove the very fine micros.I use a test tube with a Neo Boron magnet that can be removed from the T/T followed by a wash into a small beaker. I dont know if you have done a survey upon ‘other possibles’ like grind stone dust, from two grind/S dust surveys I did find tiny spheres thaf did look alike but they where minus any surface texture (via microscopy). Have you thought of doing a chem analysis when you have sufficient for the test ? I have developed a simple test for nickel and if you are interested I will share the method with you if you care to reply which will be good, sadly today so few are bothering. I look forward to if you do reply.

    Dave Bradbury.UK

    • Hi, Dave. Name here is Boyd. Good ideas. For my last batch I haven’t had time to scan the dust yet that I collected with a magnet. It was the 2nd attempt, with the first one on a plate which my wife washed before I processed it. 🙂

      At least the collecting is low cost. Glad you checked in.

      So, have you found many micro m’s?

      Right now, our total time is being taken by trying to sell our house and buy a new one. But this hobby requires no deadlines and that is nice.

      Good to meet you. Is that your real last name? Any kin to Ray?


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