I have an interest in geology and I have taken an interest in learning about meteorites recently. This may be a redundant question but it seems as if there are meteorite rich areas where there seem to be a larger accumulation of meteorites relative to other areas.

Since meteorites are magnetized, does the earth's magnetosphere or the magnetic grid, the same that cause aurora borealis, have a direct effect or influence on where meteorites are more likely to impact or land on earth?

If so, does this Indicate, fluctuations in the strength of the magnetosphere, and why meteorites are pulled to certain areas? Much like tiny pieces of graphite being pulled to a magnet.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ i ain't no expert of meteorites, but not all meteorites are magnetic. $\endgroup$
    – mysterium
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 12:11
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Could the larger accumulations of meteorites be due to local topography? Lots are found in the dry valleys of Antarctica because a dark rock on a white background is noticable and there's little snow to cover them. A meteorite falling into a rainforest is unlikely to be found. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ graphite is non-magnetic. you may mean "ferrite" $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Commented Aug 12, 2022 at 8:33

2 Answers 2


There is some evidence that meteoric events are actually distributed unevenly, with the poles experiencing fewer meteoric events per given area than the more central latitudes.


This 2014 article involves a limited study (33 events from 2000-2013) and proposes that "resonant streams" created by orbital perturbations caused by planets, particularly Jupiter and Saturn, result in preferential strikes in the mid-latitudes rather than the poles. It also results in preferential seasons for meteoric events, with summers being more active than other times.

Significantly for this question, this mid-latitude bias would suggest that the Earth's magnetic field's effect on meteoric trajectories, if it has one, must be minimal. Certainly the effect of the magnetic field would not be enough to overcome other controlling effects, such as the resonant streams. Otherwise we should expect to see the bias drawing meteoric events either towards the poles or away, in a manner not covered by the resonant streams.

 "What we had always assumed up until this paper, was that meteor       
  impacts were random, occurring at any time and in any place," says 

 "This new work points to asteroids orbiting out near Jupiter, getting 
  disrupted from their orbits by the planet's gravitational 
  perturbations, and this can have an impact for us here on Earth."

 *Dr Simon O'Toole of the Australian Astronomical Observatory. (See 
  citation above).

Dr. O'Toole points out that more study of this effect is needed due to the limited sample size. But for the purposes of this question, the bias of meteoric events was away from, rather than towards, the poles. The magnetic field, therefor, would seem to play no significant role in their distribution.


Short Answer: No.

Longer: The magnetizations of a typical (…eh) meteorite, and the Earth for that matter (a question of scale and reference, never absolute) just aren’t that great. A meteor is reasonably hypervelocity (few km/sec, though it can vary widely), and the relevant path length short- Earth’s magnetic field is detectable but weak at a short range, on the distance scale of the Earth-Moon system, let alone the scale of the inner Solar System. The “magnetized” notion is as much a product of modern, precision instruments as much as the inherent field strength of the sample.

Put these together, and the incoming body just can’t be deflected thousands of km in a few seconds. And not when that body is likely to be tumbling, with some arbitrary vector, that becomes something else arbitrary when an atmospheric load then appears…then changes the surface and even shape of the body…then changes the mass, for some meteors.

The notion of ‘magnetic!!!’ as some sort of Jedi-like magic is an unfortunate product of low science appreciation (physically, not emotionally), low math levels, and high levels of presumption/self-satisfaction. The practice of engineering, science, and to extents related fields is to assume one’s hypotheses are wrong first. One’s burden is then to winnow down the steady flow of hypotheses, in some hope of uncovering a “keeper.” The immediate implication is that one’s burden is, in practice, to erect tests and other hurdles before oneself, so that one’s wrong hypotheses will fall (preferably sooner and easier), then the borderline ones, then the decent but still flawed ones, and so forth. Civilization has honed this burden; we start with our internal thought debates/experiments, move to quick paper analyses (“back-of-the-envelope” stuff) and external referencing (literature search and hypothesizing with our colleagues, whom we value for their relevance and qualification), and if the hypothesis still stands, vigorous analyses and tests. We do it this way, and in this order, because another order wastes time, effort, hardware, etc. all of which cost some money.



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