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meteor that survives the intense heat of atmospheric friction and reaches the earth's surface. Because of the destructive effects of this friction, only the very largest meteors become meteorites.
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chondrite(kon -drÿt) A type of stony meteorite that contains chondrules. They are the most abundant class of meteorite in the Solar System (about 86%). Chondrites are largely composed of iron- and magnesium-bearing silicate minerals with a wide range of compositions. Their chemical composition is similar to that of the Sun (but depleted in volatile gases like hydrogen and helium). Several types are recognized: carbonaceous chondrites have the highest proportions of volatile elements and are the most oxidized; enstatite chondrites contain the most refractory elements (withstanding high temperatures) and are reduced; ‘ordinary’ chondrites, the most common type, are intermediate in volatile element abundance and oxidation state. Ordinary chondrites plus some carbonaceous chondrites are thought to be primitive samples of early Solar-System material. See also asteroids. Compare achondrite.
the most common type of stony meteorite, accounting for 90 percent of all such meteorites. Chondrites are characterized by the presence of chondrules located in the primary, fine-grained mass of the meteorite (see). They contain a significant amount of nickel-bearing iron in the form of small grains that have the same composition and microstructure as the grains in octahedrites.