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I know we can find meteorites from space in Antarctica because snow is white, and we can find them easily on snow. Is it true that meteorites can also be found elsewhere such as beaches, streets or even embedded in a concrete building. It is just very hard to distinguish them from plain rock on earth?

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  • $\begingroup$ Meteors don't discriminate against other areas when they fall. Although they usually leave craters, so I don't know why you would find one randomly in a concrete building. $\endgroup$ – Sir Cumference Aug 15 '16 at 5:24
  • $\begingroup$ This sounds more like a question of geology. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Aug 15 '16 at 14:17
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Yes you can find them anywhere on Earth. The thing is that by the time they reach the Earth's surface, these meteorites are very small, usually ranging from microscopic to dust sized particles. Searching How big does a meteor have to be to make it to the ground?

In this sense, most all meteoroids that enter the atmosphere make it to the ground, in the form of microscopic dust.

As you said it is easier to find meteorites in snow because it is white and contrasts with the usual colour of meteorites. It would be very hard to try and distinguish those small particles with the normal soil on Earth. As for finding one randomly in a concrete building... the chances are very low and it possibly would have done some noticeable damage to the building.

A rather simple experiment to prove that yes you can find it anywhere on earth, follow this example. This is to search for micrometeorites. I have done this before and I found it to be particularly inefficient as it is rather wind in my area, but hey you might find it different.

You can attempt to search for meteorites somewhere else but just don't expect to see large chunks of it lying around.

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  • $\begingroup$ Might be worth mentioning that experiment is not very reliable. A quote from its comments section: "This is, unfortunately, a myth. There are tens of thousands of tons of anthropogenic particulates thrown into the sky daily by engines of all kinds, many of them magnetic and roughly spherical. The worst are coal-fired power plants that not only produce dark, metallic fly ash but also spread it far and wide. With most estimates of ET debris input in the 20-40,000 ton per year, and only a small proportion of it durable metallic spheres, you can see the problem." $\endgroup$ – user10636 Aug 16 '16 at 5:03
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Antarctica is a good place for finding meteorites because it is undisturbed, and meteorites are the only rocks there. A meteorite that falls on the central ice fields gets covered with snow, and is carried by the ice towards the sea. They get exposed as the ice is eroded. The flowing of the ice concentrates meteorites in particular areas, and finally, as you note they are highly visible against the snow.

Meteorites are also found in other undisturbed locations, such as deserts. In the sahara, meteorite hunting has been a profitable activity. These are not normally recent falls, but people are finding rocks that have fallen over thousands of years. It takes some skill to identify a meteorite.

In build up areas the ground is disturbed and meteorites get lost. Meteors fall everywhere, but if a meteorite had fallen 1000 years ago near my home, it would be covered in undergrowth, covered by soil, ploughed over and then buried by houses. It is unlikely to be found.

A meteorite that hits a concrete building won't embed in it. Meteorites are travelling at terminal velocity when they reach the ground, which is about 100mph: not that fast. The meteorite may shatter, or bounce off. It won't leave a classic crater as you see on the moon.

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  • $\begingroup$ Could the OP mean that the aggregate in the concrete could include meteorites? $\endgroup$ – DJohnM Aug 22 '16 at 4:09

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