The Hoba meteorite, also known as the Hoba West meteorite, is a 66-ton iron meteorite that was discovered by a farmer not far from Grootfontein, in the Otjozondjupa Region of Namibia.
It is the largest meteorite ever found and, because of its large mass, it has never been moved from where it fell. Also, it is the largest piece of iron ever found on the Earth’s surface. It can be described as an iron meteorite, although scientifically it is termed ataxite, a meteorite with a high nickel content. The meteorite is composed of about 84% iron and 16% nickel, with traces of cobalt. A crust of iron hydroxides is locally present on the surface, owing to weathering.
The asteroid was found in 1920 by a farmer when he was plowing one of his fields. He heard an odd metallic screech and the ox-driven plow suddenly came to a halt. The large metal mass very soon attracted the attention of many scientists, who identified it as a meteorite and removed the soil around it. Today, the meteor still remains in the exact place it was discovered.
The meteorite impact is thought to have occurred more recently than 80,000 years ago. This meteorite has left no crater because of the fact that it fell at a terminal velocity, estimated to be about 320 meters per seconds.
Today, the remaining mass of the meteorite is estimated at just over 60 tons because of erosion, scientific sampling, and vandalism.
In 1954, the American Museum of Natural History tried to purchase the meteorite but their offer was rejected. The Hoba meteorite was declared a national monument in March 1955. On the site, there is a small tourist center and it is visited by many people each year.