The Hoba Meteorite: The Biggest Meteorite ever Found on Planet Earth

Flag of Namibia

As we have seen at the beginning of the week with the Gibeon meteorites, thousands of years ago, massive meteorites crashed on land in Namibia. Up until recent times, the local people were using the iron from these rocks to build tools and weapons.

In many cases around the world, the colonialists/foreigners/invaders have taken the meteorites, or large parts of them, from the native people who had used them for centuries. The one case where this has not happened is in the case of the Hoba meteorite, also located in Namibia like the Gibeon meteorites. Estimated to weigh a bit over 60 tons, the Hoba meteorite has remained too heavy to move since its fall on earth 80,000 years ago. It was buried until its discovery in 1920 by a farmer who was plowing his land. Since it has been found, its size has dwindled to about 60 tons today from 66 tons at the time of its uncovering, due to pieces getting chipped for scientific research, vandalism, and weathering.

A side of the Hoba Meteorite (Source:

All experts agree that the Hoba meteorite is the biggest intact meteorite ever found on earth to date. It is located about 20 km west of the city of Grootfontein, in the Otjozondjupa Region of Namibia. It is estimated that it fell on earth about 80,000 years ago. The meteorite has an overall area of 2.70 x 2.20 m at a height of about 1 m, and is estimated to be between 200 to 400 million years old. Like the Gibeon meteorites, it consists mostly of iron (82.4 %) and nickel (16.4 %) with traces of cobalt and some other elements. It was named Hoba after the Hoba Farm located in the Otavi Mountains. The word Hoba itself comes from a Khoekhoegowab word which means ‘gift‘; at 60 tons, it is indeed quite a gift!  In the early 1950s, an American research laboratory tried to have it moved, but it would not budge! Maybe the ancestors were against their gift to the Namibian people being moved away?… who knows?

It was declared a National Monument in 1955. Wouldn’t it be nice to stand on top of the Hoba meteorite and contemplate its extraterrestrial origin, and its age, imagining life 200 to 400 million years ago.

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Hoba meteorite (Source:

The Gibeon Meteorites: Prehistoric Extraterrestrial Vestiges in Namibia

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The Gibeon Meteorites Plaque by the National Monuments Council

Several thousand years ago, a massive meteorite crashed on land in Namibia. A large portion of space rocks were found not too far from the village of Gibeon in Namibia, thus the name Gibeon meteorites. The local Nama people, and their ancestors before them, used to make metal iron tools and weapons from these rocks. In more recent times, in 1838, Captain J.E. Alexander stumbled upon them during his travels and sent specimens to the world famous astronomer John Herschel in England, who also named the 7 moons of Saturn and the 4 moons of Uranus; Herschel identified the Gibeon meteorites as extraterrestrial.

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Some of the Gibeon Meteorites at the Post Street Mall, Windhoek, Namibia

Since then, over 150 meteorites have been tracked and recovered, although some of the more valuable specimens have been stolen or smuggled out of the country or donated to various research institutions around the world. In 1950, 30 of these prehistoric extraterrestrial wonders were declared National Monument. Today, they are exposed on the Post Street Mall in the capital Windhoek. Additionally, all meteorites found in Namibia are automatically protected and classified as National Monuments, and must not be removed from where they have been found or damaged in any way.

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Gibeon Meteorites, Windhoek, Namibia

The Gibeon meteorites are rich in iron, nickel, and small amounts of cobalt. More nickel has been found in them compared to some other meteorites found elsewhere. The rock is crystalline when polished and etched. The strewnfield for Gibeon meteorites is perhaps the largest in the world.

If you ever visit Windhoek, please do not forget to stroll down Post Street Mall, and enjoy these prehistoric extraterrestrial wonders, and remember that some of our ancestors’ tools came from these.

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Overall view of the Gibeon Meteorites, Windhoek, Namibia