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By the early 1980s, it was obvious that the SNC group of meteorites (Shergottites, Nakhlites, Chassignites) were significantly different from most other meteorite types.

These cosmogonies were part of the new emphasis of science in seeking rational explanations of the features of the world. This period was marked by a great deal of field geology rather than grand cosmogonies.

It became clear that there had been significant changes in the Earth's topography over time and that these changes could neither be accounted for by natural processes operating during the brief nor by the postulated Noachian flood.

Meteorites that are recovered after being observed as they transit the atmosphere or impact the Earth are called meteorite falls. As of April 2016 Meteorites have traditionally been divided into three broad categories: stony meteorites are rocks, mainly composed of silicate minerals; iron meteorites that are largely composed of metallic iron-nickel; and, stony-iron meteorites that contain large amounts of both metallic and rocky material.

Modern classification schemes divide meteorites into groups according to their structure, chemical and isotopic composition and mineralogy.

Meteorites smaller than 2 mm are classified as micrometeorites.