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Abstract— Fusion crusts develop on all meteorites during their passage through the atmosphere but have been little studied. We have characterized the textures and compositions of the fusion crusts of 73 stony meteorites to identify the nature of meteorite ablation spheres (MAS) and constrain the processes operating during the entry heating. Most chondrite fusion crusts are porphyritic and are dominated by olivine, glass, and accessory magnetite; whereas those of the achondrites are mainly glassy. Chondrite fusion crusts contain sulphide droplets with high-Ni contents (>55 wt%). The partially melted substrate of ordinary chondrites (underlying the outer melted crusts) are dominated by silicate glass and composite metal, sulphide, and Cr-bearing Fe-oxide droplets that form as coexisting immiscible liquids. Enstatite chondrite substrates contain Cr- and Mn- bearing sulphides. The substrates of the carbonaceous chondrites comprise a sulphide-enriched layer of matrix. The compositions of melted crusts are similar to those of the bulk meteorite. However, differences from whole rock suggest that three main processes control their chemical evolution: (1) the loss and reaction of immiscible Fe-rich liquids, (2) mixing between substrate partial melts and bulk melts of the melted crust, and (3) the loss of volatile components by evaporation and degassing. Data from fusion crusts suggest that MAS produced at low altitude have compositions within the range of those of silicate-dominated cosmic spherules that are formed by the melting dust particles. Meteorite ablation spheres produced at high altitude probably have compositions very different from bulk meteorite and will resemble cosmic spherules derived from coarse-grained precursors.