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Meteorites smaller than 2 mm are classified as micrometeorites.Extraterrestrial meteorites are such objects that have impacted other celestial bodies, whether or not they have passed through an atmosphere.This article is about debris from space that survives impact with the ground.For other uses of "Meteorite", see Meteorite (disambiguation).The name designated by the Meteoritical Society is used by scientists, catalogers, and most collectors.Large meteoroids may strike the earth with a significant fraction of their escape velocity (second cosmic velocity), leaving behind a hypervelocity impact crater.On stony meteorites, the heat-affected zone is at most a few mm deep; in iron meteorites, which are more thermally conductive, the structure of the metal may be affected by heat up to 1 centimetre (0.39 in) below the surface.Reports vary; some meteorites are reported to be "burning hot to the touch" upon landing, while others are alleged to have been cold enough to condense water and form a frost.
Examples of craters caused by iron meteoroids include Barringer Meteor Crater, Odessa Meteor Crater, Wabar craters, and Wolfe Creek crater; iron meteorites are found in association with all of these craters.
Very large stony objects, hundreds of meters in diameter or more, weighing tens of millions of tons or more, can reach the surface and cause large craters, but are very rare.
Such events are generally so energetic that the impactor is completely destroyed, leaving no meteorites.
As meteoroids are heated during atmospheric entry, their surfaces melt and experience ablation.
They can be sculpted into various shapes during this process, sometimes resulting in shallow thumbprint-like indentations on their surfaces called regmaglypts.