Thursday, 24 March 2011

What is this mystery rock?

One of our viewers has sent us some pictures of a substance, asking for help identifying it.

Thought I'd share it here on the blog to see if anyone can help.

The sender (called Matt) said: "I have been watching your videos and I was wondering if you could help me identify a mysterious rock I found when I was young.

"I live in Canada, Ontario, and have never found a similar rock like this before, I am hoping you can help me identify what it is.

"After many hours of searching the net, the closest resemblance I could come up with is raw Titanium.

More pics of the rock.


  1. I bet on meteorite =)

  2. If it is Titanium you can do a grind test.

    Titanium like iron will give off sparks when you grind on it. With Iron though you get red orange sparks, with titanium you should get white sparks.

    Titanium is also non magnetic so try that test to. I have a similar piece of metal but It is smaller and the shape is more interesting than what type metal it might be so I never did a grind test on mine. But I found my piece on rail road tracks and it looks like a slag splash on one side and is pitted with bubbles like yours on the other.

    So mine could be some type of bi-product of thermite welding.

  3. Is it slag from a furnace? I recall seeing something which looked like that when I visited an Iron Foundry as a child.

  4. I guess it is a nickel/iron meteorite. I have seen this bubbly surface once before

  5. What are its dimensions? I can see the coin but can't tell what denomination it is. Is it comparatively heavy or light for its size? Does it float or sink in water? Where - within ten miles - was it found? Is it magnetic, even weakly so? Does it react to hydrocholoric acid? Nitric acid? Aqua regia? We really need more data here. The pitting and sheen look meteoritic, but without more data it's hard to say.

    If it's a nickel iron meteorite, it should be magnetic, and if you try to etch the surface with HCl, you should get a red colour when you expose the fresh surface to a thiocyanate solution (iron test). You should also get a red to pink colour from exposing it to dimethylgloxime solution (nickel test).

    PTOV team, please correct my chemistry if necessary! Thanks.