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Monday, 13 January 2014

The Iron Monument

The Iron Monument

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Photo credit: Eugen Zibiso
With a weight of more than 60 tons, the Hoba meteorite is the largest known meteorite in the world. As a matter of fact, it’s also the largest single piece of iron that we know about. Because it’s so massive, it’s never been moved—it’s still sitting in a little farm near Grootfontein, Namibia.
The Hoba meteorite was discovered by pure luck. A Namibian farmer, Jacobus Brits, was whipping his ox through a field on his property when the plow came to a screeching halt. Upon investigating, he found a large, square rock embedded in the dirt. It wasn’t until later that he realized it was a meteorite. Because of its shape (flat on all sides), it’s believed that the meteoriteskipped across the surface of the atmosphere a few times, like a pebble skipping across a pond, before plunging through. It probably made landfall around 80,000 years ago, crashing through the atmospheric layers at speeds of 300 meters per second (about 1,000 ft/s). It’s now a national monument.

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