Although iron meteorites hit the earth less often than rock meteorites, they are found much more frequently, since they are easily recognizable. They consist of a nickel-iron alloy and, when cut and polished, reveal a characteristic structure of interleaving bands (Widmannstätten pattern). Several times in geological history, meteorite strikes had catastrophic consequences for life on earth. Well-known examples include the impact at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary approx. 66 million years ago in the Yucatan, which may have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, and the meteorite crater “Nördlinger Ries” on the border between the German states of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg.