One of the Largest Meteorites on Record was Unearthed in Argentina

September 15, 2016 | Erica Tennenhouse

Hoba meteorite
Photo credit: Hoba meteorite. Damien du Toit/flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Watch the excavation of this 30-ton rock!

A 30-ton meteorite — now the second largest on record — was discovered on Saturday in Argentina’s Campo del Cielo, meaning “Field of Heaven.” The area is littered with stones from a meteor shower that occurred around 4,000 years ago.

The massive rock, which has been named Gancedo after a nearby town, is dwarfed by a meteorite discovered in Namibia nearly a century ago called Hoba. At more than 66 tons, Hoba is the largest meteorite ever recorded.

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Bill Cassidy, a US researcher who has studied meteor impacts at Campo del Cielo, told Scientific American last year that the site is unique because "in most meteorite impacts it is impossible to recover the bodies intact meteorites…” The area has yielded meteorites of various sizes, including one called El Chaco, which was previously reported to weigh 37 tons.

However, Mario Vesconi, the president of the Astronomical Association of Chaco told the Argentinian government’s news service, Télam, that a more recent weighing puts El Chaco at 28.8 tons, bumping it to third place behind the newly discovered rock.

The Gancedo meteorite will still be re-weighed and analyzed to confirm that it is, in fact, a meteorite.

"We will weigh it again,” says Vesconi. “Apart from wanting the added confidence of a double-check of the initial readings we took, the fact that its weight is such a surprise to us makes us want to recalibrate."

Watch Gancedo being excavated:


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