As Canada's leading research centre for planetary science and space exploration, CPSX is home to a collection of nearly 300 meteorites and provides a means for our researchers and students to examine and explore planetary materials and processes. This collection contains a spectacular range of international and Canadian observed fall meteorites including the main mass of the Dresden ordinary chondrite (1939), large portions of the Tagish Lake carbonaceous chondrite (2000), and the Grimsby ordinary chondrite (2009).
The Western Meteorite Collection is an approved repository of the Meteoritical Society. Our researchers’ laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation for meteorite classifications and research studies.
Our researchers can establish the physical characteristics of meteorites such as their magnetic susceptibility, density, porosity, or 3D computed tomography X-ray scans to vision their interiors. They can measure the chemical compositions of meteorites by electron microprobe (EPMA Lab) for in-situ mineral analyses and by ICPMS (GEOMETRIC Lab) for trace element analyses. We can also measure the isotopic compositions of meteorites for their oxygen (LSIS) and metal isotopic compositions (GEOMETRIC Lab) for classifications or to establish their origin, formation or chronology.
If you are a researcher interested in applying for a sample loan for your research activities or if you need to obtain meteorite analyses for classification or collaborative research, please contact the Western Meteorite Collection Curator Dr. Audrey Bouvier.
If you are interested to have your meteorites classified in our laboratories at a fee to cover our analytical expenditures and named officially by The Meteoritical Society, you may contact Dr. Audrey Bouvier. A repository sample of a mass meeting the society’s requirements will have to be donated to our collection for long-term curation and research activities.
The meteorite collection also facilitates CPSX's teaching and outreach programs by providing samples for laboratory classes in undergraduate and graduate courses and for outreach activities on campus and in local schools. These materials provide students with a hand-on learning experience where they get to look at the oldest rocks formed in the Solar System!
The Western Meteorite collection has a meteorite display located on the first floor of the Biological and Geological Building on Western campus. It is accessible during the building opening hours from Monday to Friday, and during our open house events.
The collection is also engaged in public events throughout the year, in partnership with the Cronyn Observatory at Western. Meteorite enthusiasts are invited to bring their rocks which they think may be meteorites. Our current annual event is on Asteroid Day on June 30th. Other events may be organized throughout the year, please check our Events page for more details.
If you can't wait till then and think you've found a potential meteorite here are some useful resources to help.
The collection strives on the service and volunteering from university personnel. Due to a substantial rise in demand as well as budget constraints and staff limitations, the Western Meteorite Collection in no way responsible for answering emails and to voice messages, or any specimens sent to us, nor is the collection responsible for returning them to senders. Staff members are available for walk-in opportunities only during our organized public events (see above).
Please, check the links above first and carefully start your evaluation. Many Earth rocks might look alike meteorites, and there are many funny looking rocks lying everywhere which does not mean they are meteorites. Meteorites have distinctive physical characteristics from Earth rocks which are highlighted on these pages.
Here is a useful flow chart as well:
Credits: R. Korotev, Washington University.
If you still think you might have found a meteorite, contact first your local nature or science museum who may help you further to evaluate it. If you are in the London area, we hope you can attend one of our annual events and bring your stones to our experts. They will be available to take a look at them and provide a free evaluation and if additional analyses are required to confirm their extra-terrestrial origins. We thank you for your understanding and for looking out for meteorites!