Earth, Moon, and Planets

, Volume 111, Issue 1–2, pp 15–30 | Cite as

Towards an Understanding of the Fall Circumstances of the Hoba Meteorite

  • Martin BeechEmail author


Using the observed attributes of the Hoba meteorite, that it is a single mass which survived impact intact, we investigate the possible conditions leading to its fall. Specifically, we asses the scenario in which the Hoba progenitor is envisioned as encountering Earth’s atmosphere at a shallow angle of entry, with a low velocity and stabilized profile to the oncoming airflow. In order to physically survive impact we find, via the planar impact approximation, that the Hoba meteorite must have landed with a speed smaller than a few hundred meters per second. We find that the envisioned model can satisfy, in its extreme limit of low entry speed, maximum area profile and near horizontal entry angle the required landing conditions. We deduce that the progenitor mass for the Hoba meteorite was likely of order 5 × 105 kg, and that a simple impact crater, now eroded, having a diameter of some 20 m and a depth of about 5 m was produced upon impact. We estimate that the typical arrival time interval for such massive, Hoba-like meteorite falls is of order 5 × 106 years.


Meteorites Hoba Earth impacts Planets and satellite Surfaces 


  1. T.J. Ahrens, W.W. Anderson, Y. Zhao, Air Force Office of Scientific Research final report: TR-95-0493 (1995)Google Scholar
  2. N.A. Artemieva, P.A. Bland, 66th Ann. Met. Soc. Meeting, paper 5153 (2003)Google Scholar
  3. B. Baldwin, Y. Sheaffer, J. Geophys. Res. 76, 4653 (1971)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. C.A. Bauer, J. Geophys. Res. 68, 6043 (1963)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. M. Beech, JBAA. 99, 130 (1989)ADSGoogle Scholar
  6. M. Beech, WGN. J. IMO. 39, 9 (2011)ADSGoogle Scholar
  7. P.A. Bland, M.J. Cintala, F. Horz, G. Cressey, LPS XXXII, paper 1764 (2001) Google Scholar
  8. J. Borovicka, P. Spurny, Astron. Astrophys. 485, L1 (2008)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. W.F. Bottke, M.C. Nolan, R. Greenberg, R.A. Kolvoord, in Hazards Due to Comets and Asteroids, ed. by T. Gehrels, M.S. Matthews, A. Schumann (University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1994), p. 337 Google Scholar
  10. W.F. Bottke, S. Love, D. Tystell, T. Glotch, Icarus 145, 108 (2000)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. V.A. Bronshten, Physics of Meteoric Phenomena (D. Reidel Pub, Dordrecht, 1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. P. Brown, R.E. Spalding, D.O. ReVelle, E. Tagliaferri, S.P. Worden, Nature 420, 294 (2002)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. P. Brown et al., Asteroids, Comets, Meteors, Baltimore, Maryland, paper 8097 (2008)Google Scholar
  14. V.F. Buchwald, Handbook of Iron Meteorites, Their History, Distribution, Composition and Structure (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1975)Google Scholar
  15. Z. Ceplecha, A&A. 283, 287 (1994)ADSGoogle Scholar
  16. Z. Ceplecha, D.O. ReVelle, MAPS. 40, 35 (2005)ADSGoogle Scholar
  17. C.A. Chant, JRASC. 7, 145 (1913)ADSGoogle Scholar
  18. G.S. Collins, Elbeshausen, T.M. Davison, S.J. Robbibs, B.M. Hynek, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 310, 1 (2011)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. G.S. Collins, H.J. Melosh, R.A. Marcus, MAPS. 40, 817 (2005)ADSGoogle Scholar
  20. D.L. Cook, M. Wadhwa, A.M. Davis, R.N. Clayton, LPS XXXVII, paper 2116 (2006)Google Scholar
  21. A.N. Cox (ed.), Allen’s Astrophysical Quantities (Springer, New York, 1999)Google Scholar
  22. T.M. Davison, G.S. Collins, D. Elbeshausen, K. Wünnemann, A. Kearsley, MAPS. 46, 1510 (2011)ADSGoogle Scholar
  23. J.D. Fernie, JRASC. 61, 127 (1967)ADSGoogle Scholar
  24. M.D. Furnish, M.B. Boslough, G.T. Gray III, J.L. Remo, Int. J. Impact Eng 17, 341 (1995)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. D.C. Golden, D.W. Ming, M.E. Zolensky, Meteoritics 30, 418 (1995)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. J.G. Hills, M.P. Goda, Planet. Space Sci. 45, 595 (1997)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. T. Hirata, A. Masuda, Meteoritics 27, 568 (1992)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. A.A. Johnson, J.T. Remo, R.B. Davis, J. Geophys. Res. 84, 1683 (1979)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. W.G. Jones, P.F. Smith, G.J. Homer, J.D. Lewin, H.E. Walford, Zei. Phys. C. 43, 349 (1989)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. W.J. Luyten, Pop. Astron. 38, 13 (1930)ADSGoogle Scholar
  31. M. Matsumoto, H. Ishizaki, C. Matsuoka, Y. Daito, Y. Ichikawa, A. Shimahara, J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 77&78, 531 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. R.H. McCorkell, E.L. Fireman, J. D’Amico, S.O. Thompson, Meteoritics 4, 113 (1968)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. A.D. Mebane, Meteoritics 1, 405 (1956)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. H.J. Melosh, Impact Cratering: A Geological Process (OUP, Oxford, 1989)Google Scholar
  35. H.J. Melosh, T.J. Goldin, LPS XXXIX, paper 2457 (2008)Google Scholar
  36. J.D. Okeefe, T.J. Ahrens, J. Geophys. Res. 87, 6668 (1982)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. R.R. Passey, H.J. Melosh, Icarus 42, 211 (1980)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. J.J. Petrovic, J. Mater. Sci. 36, 1579 (2001)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. E. Pierazzo, N.A. Artemieva, LPS XXXVI, paper 2325 (2005)Google Scholar
  40. E. Pierazzo, H.J. Melosh, ARE&PS. 28, 141 (2000)ADSGoogle Scholar
  41. O. Popova et al., MAPS. 46, 1525 (2011)ADSGoogle Scholar
  42. R.D. Rawcliffe, C.D. Bartky, F. Li, E. Gordon, D. Carta, Nature 247, 449 (1974)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. D.O. ReVelle, Z. Ceplecha, A&A. 292, 330 (1994)ADSGoogle Scholar
  44. D.O. ReVelle, R.S. Ranjan, BAAS. 20, 862 (1988)ADSGoogle Scholar
  45. E. Shoemaker, in, Physics and Astronomy of the Moon, ed. by Z. Kopal (Academic Press, New York, 1962) p. 283Google Scholar
  46. P.E. Spargo, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 67, 85 (2008)Google Scholar
  47. L.J. Spencer, Mineral. Mag. 23, 1 (1932)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. V.V. Svetsov, I.V. Nemchino, A.V. Teterev, Icarus 116, 131 (1995)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. G. Tancedi et al., Asteroids, Comets, Meteors Conference, Baltimore, Maryland, paper 8260 (2008)Google Scholar
  50. D.F. Young, B.R. Munson, T.H. Okiishi, W.W. Huebsch, A Brief Introduction to Fluid Mechanics (Wiley, New Jersey, 2010)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Campion CollegeThe University of ReginaReginaCanada

Personalised recommendations