Did you know that hundreds of pounds of rocks from space fall through Earth’s atmosphere every day? It’s true! You just don’t see it because they disintegrate before they hit the ground.
However, the Hoba Meteorite is a different story. It’s the world’s largest meteorite to ever land on Earth’s surface.
The Hoba Meteorite is one of the very few space rocks that has landed on Earth’s surface without disintegrating in our atmosphere before hitting the ground.
Meteorites can cause a huge threat to our planet and its population. Imagine a large rock falling from the sky and creating a crater in the ground. That’s exactly what happened when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
One of the mysteries around the Hoba meteorite is the lack of damage it caused to the Earth’s surface as it is the heaviest and largest meteorite to fall to Earth.
The Hoba is located in Namibia, South Africa in the central-north region. It was discovered by farmer, Jacobus Hermanus Brits, in 1920 near the city of Grootfontein.
At first, the farmer didn’t think much of the large rock because he could only see the top of it. He went on about his work on the Hoba farm.
There was one thing that the farmer noticed. The soil around the rock was chalky and the rock was black. “I scratched the rock with my knife and saw there was a shine beneath the surface,” Brits explained.
He wasn’t sure what he had just stumbled upon, so he called in the authorities to take a closer look. It was then that the rock was identified as a meteorite.
Confirming that the meteorite weighs somewhere between 119,000 and 120,000 pounds, scientists are baffled that it didn’t create a large crater when it landed.
Some scientists theorize that the rock slowed down before it landed. This only created more questions, though.
Another theory as to why the meteorite stayed in tact was that it was much, much larger when it first entered the atmosphere and a lot of it disintegrated already.
Another mystery raised by the meteorite is that 84% of it is made up of iron. This is the first and only natural source of iron ever known to man.
After closer examination, it was determined that the rest of the meteorite was made up of nickel.
The Hoba meteorite is so rare that only 5% of meteorites that enter our atmosphere are composed of the same material.
Scientists predict that the meteorite is between 190 and 410 million years old. This was determined by discovering a rare radioactive nickel isotope in it.
They also believe that the meteorite landed on earth 80,000 years ago. This is a good explanation as to why we do not see the affects of its landing.
Now, the site of the Hoba meteorite is a tourist destination. The town of Grootfontein is even called “Hoba West.” However, authorities have to take precaution so the rock isn’t stolen.
The meteorite is so popular and amazing that the Namibian government claimed the site to be a national monument.
J. Engelbrecht, who owned Hoba farm, decided to donate the meteorite in 1987. There is even a visitor center where people can learn about the meteorite’s history.
Steps have been constructed around the meteorite to make it easier for tourists to get close to the rock and take pictures with it.
Pieces of the Hoba meteorite have been chipped off so museums around the world can put the rock on display for people who can’t make it to South Africa.