Hoba Meteorite is Largest Meteorite on Planet Earth

The largest meteorite on the planet landed in Namibia some 80,000 years ago and is at least 200 million years old and contains elements not found on Earth.

Farmer Jacobus Hermanus Brits was tilling one of his fields behind his ox in 1920 on his farm near Grootfontein in northern Namibia when his plough got stuck on what turned out to be the Hoba Meteorite. When Brits dug around to discover what the plough had become stuck on he discovered the largest known meteorite on Earth. The Hoba Meteorite was excavated but not moved from the spot as it weighs an estimated 60 tons.

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Not only is the Hoba Meteorite the largest known meteorite on Earth it is also the largest naturally-occurring piece of iron on the Earth’s surface. Its composition is 82.4% Iron, 16.4% Nickel, .76% Cobalt, .04% Phosphorus and with trace amounts of Copper, Zinc, Carbon, Sulphur, Chromium, Gallium, Germanium and Iridium. It is scientifically classified as nickel-rich ataxite. It also contains traces of minerals that really only exist on earth in meteorites like Triolite.

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The Hoba Meteorite is roughly 9 feet 8 inches long, 9 feet 4 inches wide with a depth ranging from 2 feet 5 inches to 3 feet 11 inches.

Image via Wikipedia (Laurie Ventor sitting on the meteor in 1967)

The great mystery surrounding the Hoba Meteorite is that it is not in a crater. How could such a large mass end up on the Earth’s surface without being in a crater? Speculation is that the meteorite entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a very low trajectory and then skipped over the ground like a flat stone skipping over water.

(NASA photo of Hoba Meteorite)

The meteorite is estimated to be between 200 million and 400 million years old and is thought to have landed on Earth some 80,000 years ago. It certainly would have been quite visible and quite a show as it rocketed through the atmosphere to any living creature that may have been around in the area at that time. 

Image by Sara&Joachim via Flickr

The Hoba Meteorite was declared a National Monument in 1955 by the then South West Africa government. Despite the designation the meteorite suffered from vandalism over the years until 1985 when the Rossing Uranium company provided funds to the Namibian Government to help prevent vandalism.

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In 1987 the farm’s owner donated the meteorite site to the government and a tourist site was opened the same year. Today the largest known meteorite on Earth, The Hoba Meteorite, is visited by thousands of tourists every year.

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33 Responses to “Hoba Meteorite is Largest Meteorite on Planet Earth”
  1. JoseI Says...

    On June 8, 2009 at 8:38 am

    very interesting.


  2. chris73 Says...

    On June 8, 2009 at 8:46 am

    Another interesting piece.


  3. papaleng Says...

    On June 8, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Sorry friend if I miss much of your works, got a bout with flu.. This one is another very educational article with wonderful photos.


  4. CHAN LEE PENG Says...

    On June 8, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Here I clicked you “Like it”, well done! It’s such a huge meteorite!They were formed million years ago and contained elements not found on earth! Amazing, amazing!


  5. Littlekid137 Says...

    On June 8, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Very interesting! good job!


  6. Daisy Peasblossom Says...

    On June 8, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Very interesting article. Wouldn’t want to have been under one of those “skips” when it came down.


  7. Allana Calhoun Says...

    On June 8, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Interesting! Funny how a large rock can attract so many tourists. :-)


  8. catlord Says...

    On June 8, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    very kewl!


  9. Kate Smedley Says...

    On June 8, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    This sort of thing fascinates me, the photos are unbelievable! Brilliant article yet again Joe.


  10. Auron Renius Says...

    On June 8, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Fascinating article


  11. Lostash Says...

    On June 8, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Once again, a new piece of knowledge! Interesting article.


  12. Ruby Hawk Says...

    On June 8, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    I learn something every day.


  13. Aaron Paul Hicks Says...

    On June 8, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Great feature and very enjoyable photos too, i live in a small market town in the UK and we have a huge meteor on display in the market place exactly were it landed, its huge and is around 200 years old……..fascinating,
    very best wishes,
    Aaron :-)


  14. Judy T Lloyd Says...

    On June 8, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    A meteorite struck our area a long time ago. We do have the Moorefield Mine which has various minerals. Thanks for these pictures.


  15. fishfry aka Elizabeth Figueroa Says...

    On June 8, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Wow, who would think these things exist right here on our planet, but they do, and they have concentrated levels or different ores. In this case it is Iron.
    Lovely article, well put together, interesting photos


  16. j p gallagher Says...

    On June 8, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Now that is a big rock, imagine it skipping off the Earth


  17. Jo Oliver Says...

    On June 8, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    wow, that would be something to see. I would be a little afraid of sitting on it though;)


  18. livofc1 Says...

    On June 9, 2009 at 3:49 am

    pretty kool. It would be something to see in real life though. nice article.


  19. Mr Ghaz Says...

    On June 9, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Great post!!..this is really awesome..stunning pics too..I really liked it..thanx for sharing this wonderful work.


  20. K Kristie Says...

    On June 11, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Great share, Joe. It’s nice to know about this.


  21. Rajiv Sighamony Says...

    On June 24, 2009 at 8:15 am

    great piece


  22. Janiece Says...

    On October 31, 2009 at 6:03 am

    How interesting! It is amazing how such a huge thing could have gotten here without leaving a crater!


  23. Dewan Golam Shafi Choudhury Says...

    On December 11, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    excellant article. I LOVE meteors!!!!! This was worth reading and I am truly glad for looking through your portfolio


  24. catlord Says...

    On February 5, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Thanks all! I enjoy your comments!


  25. natasha Says...

    On September 27, 2010 at 9:55 am

    wau that is an interesting piece of rock,


  26. mostpopulararticle Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    This article has been indexed inThe Triond Experiment Thanks and goodluck!


  27. skou Says...

    On January 27, 2011 at 4:12 am

    Itz a good thing the Hoba Meteorite is worthless, If it was valuable do you thnk the farmer would have informed anyone? Any way i learned something cos i thought it fall in the 90dis.


  28. Per L. Harby Says...

    On June 11, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Interesting article. Gives a good description of this remarkable item. I have been there and seen it many years ago. It is very impressive and worth making a detour to see when going between Tsumeb and Grootfontain.


  29. Bill Says...

    On July 9, 2011 at 1:38 am

    HAS ANYONE EVER TRYED TO STEEL THIS BEAST?


  30. Joe Dorish Says...

    On July 9, 2011 at 8:54 am

    It weighs over 60 tons. Anybody who tries to steal it would need a massive crane to do so.


  31. Nampa Asino Says...

    On November 13, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Hi guys,

    My name is Nampa. I am currently doing my masters in the World Heritage at Work in Turin, Italy. I am from Namibia and the meteor is found in the Grootfontein vicinity. My research project is on the Hoba meteorite site. Its such a good feeling reading all the comments made by you on Triond, thank you. I will be greatful if you have any advice, comments ideas on how I can valorise/add value to the site so that it can attract more tourists and investors like you. Or maybe some in the meteorological institutes to take part in this wonderful geological heritage. Please do contact me. Thank you!


  32. Jim Allen Says...

    On April 12, 2012 at 3:01 am

    This wonderful meteor and tourist site has not been given the respect it deserves. To obtain thousands of more tourists and
    and monetary income for the impoverished people of the area, you have establish a moderate sized hotel and one or two grocery markets– then you would have more people coming– even if this effort is started by the government.

    Second, all the great meteors in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City have their own pedestal or foundation in which they are supported, so you can examine the entire meteorite, and when high up enough, prevent vandalism. I am willing to begin the funding, but what we need is a reasonable estimate for the cost of such a steel alloy pedestal.
    for the proper


  33. Nampa Asino Says...

    On September 13, 2012 at 5:41 am

    Hi Jim, thank you for the advise. I am finaly done with my project report and have made some tremendous progress. Please do contact me to further discuss. My email address: nampanray@gmail.com


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