Tom Phillips Microscopic Meteorite Gallery
Meteorites as well as many terrestrial rocks are examined by scientists under a microscope using a slide made from a very thin slice of the rock. This slide called a Thin Section is only 30 microns thick. As a result many of the minerals will be transparent. Thin sections can be viewed in both normal light and in polarized light. When examined in polarized light the individual mineral grains will display colors characteristic of their mineral type. The scientist can with experience identify many features about a rock by looking at it in thin section. Of course the metal in chondrite meteorites will never be transparent and will show when viewed in polarized light as dark spots. Often the examination will make use of both reflected and transmitted light. The polarization colors can be quite striking and very beautiful. We hope you will enjoy your trip into the microscopic world of meteorite thin sections.