[meteorite-list] Meteorite Cleaning

From: Donald O'Keeffe <donald.okeeffe_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:42:00 2004
Message-ID: <3A623A8C.A9066EBE_at_signalhill.net>

Hi Mike,

I use lime-a-way on my keepers. Removes the caliche and doesn't harm the
stone as far as I can tell.

I think "The Works" is what the kids in my neighborhood use for bombs. I'm
not exactly sure how they do it, shredded aluminum foil I think. Sure does
rattle the windows on the Fourth of July.


Mike Groetz wrote:

> Hello-
> I am new to the hobby of meteorite collecting and am very excited
> about it. Even though by no means am I familiar with chemistry, I made a
> discovery that I am very pleased with and wanted to share with you-
> Recently I purchased a DHOFAR H4/5 meteorite weighing about 36 grams.
> The photo I purchased from showed a small amount of white "caliche"
> (calcium carbonate) on the corners of the meteorite. This is supposed to
> be frequently found on meteorites from desert climates. I have to admit
> that when I received it I was a little disappointed in that the white
> was all over the backside not seen in the photo.
> From what I have read, this can be removed with a fairly strong
> sulfuric acid. But I have no idea where to find it.
> OK- don't laugh. While cleaning the bathroom, I was using an over the
> counter product called "The Works" that is advertised for removal of
> rust stains and hard water build up. I know this stuff is fairly strong
> (it contains phosphoric acid) and all at once I wondered what it would
> do to the caliche on my meteorite.
> So I got up the courage and put the meteorite in a small cup and
> covered it with the cleaner. Immediately the white caliche started
> bubbling and boiling away from the meteorite. After a few minutes, it
> seemed to slow, so I took an old toothbrush and lightly scrubbed the
> meteorite and put it back in the cleaner. Again, the white caliche was
> bubbling away and I could see fine particles of the caliche coming off.
> After about 30 minutes and a few gentle scrubbings, the meteorite was
> totally clean of the white. I rinsed it in water and lightly paper
> toweled it dry. Then to insure total drying, I sprayed it with Albany
> brake parts cleaner (a combination of Heptane and Toluene) that is
> advertised to "clean and dry quickly with no residue". Within seconds,
> the meteorite was dry and really looked great and natural. This was now
> the meteorite I wanted.
> The cleaning did not change any of the original light brown
> coloration or the partial blackened crust. It is free of the caliche.
> I know this was not professional, but for me, I am really pleased and
> wanted to share it with all of you.
> Mike
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Received on Sun 14 Jan 2001 06:47:24 PM PST

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