Since the beginnings of the science of meteoritics in the late 18th century, several schemes have been developed to categorize the various meteorites in our collections. The most popular of these classification schemes is based upon the primary composition of each major group, dividing all meteorites into three main classes:
- Stony meteorites ;
- Stony-iron meteorites ;
- Iron meteorites ;
Several subgroups have been subsequently assigned to each of these classes, just to cope with the difficulties, and discrepancies that were brought about by this over-aged classification scheme - a scheme that is still widespread in the respective literature, scientific publications, as well as on most meteorite-related websites.
Modern meteoritics has a more sophisticated view, and provides us with new classification schemes based upon the formation history, origin, mineralogy, chemist, and also upon the more subtle isotopic compositions of each meteorite class, clan, and group.