Why is there no impact crater from the meteorite in Namibia?

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Offline royden

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Royden Edward Hodgskin asked the Naked Scientists:
   
How come there is no impact crater around the huge meteorite that's lying in the Namibian desert? Surely one this size would have caused untold devastation?

What do you think?

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Offline LeeE

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Why is there no impact crater from the meteorite in Namibia?
« Reply #1 on: 10/09/2009 13:35:16 »
From:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoba_meteorite

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It is inferred that the Earth's atmosphere slowed the object down to the point that it fell to the surface at terminal velocity, thereby remaining intact and causing little excavation. The meteorite is unusual in that it is flat on both major surfaces, possibly causing it to have skipped across the top of the atmosphere in the way a flat stone skips on water.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

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Offline itisus

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Why is there no impact crater from the meteorite in Namibia?
« Reply #2 on: 25/09/2009 04:12:16 »
I visited that site a few years ago.  The thing is a big rectilinear chunk of iron, the same shape that might be most easily produced in a foundry.  It is lying nice and flat just below the surface level.  Very convenient.  If you were pulling something that heavy, it would be easier to dump it in that orientation that any other.  Meteorites, on the other hand, tend to be rather irregular.  The little indentations on the surface are a nice touch.  It would be interesting to see if the same pattern continues on the bottom surface.  Maybe it dropped off an alien space barge.

Well, it may not have been a deliberate hoax, but I'd bet a buck it isn't a meteorite.

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Offline RD

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Why is there no impact crater from the meteorite in Namibia?
« Reply #3 on: 26/09/2009 04:35:52 »
Well, it may not have been a deliberate hoax, but I'd bet a buck it isn't a meteorite.

If it is a hoax it's an elaborate one : they saw fit to include a large percentage of Nickel, just like a real meteorite...

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Ni[ckel] is always present, the concentration lies between 5 and about 25%. It can be used to distinguish meteoritic irons from technical products, which contain usually lower amounts of Ni.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_meteorite#Composition
« Last Edit: 26/09/2009 04:38:11 by RD »