A meteorite is a solid piece of debris from an asteroid or comet that originates in outer space and remains on its journey through its atmosphere and collision with the planet’s surface.
The map below illustrates 4,516 found meteorites that have fallen to the surface of our planet since 301 AD.
Table of Contents
- Were are meteorites are found by number?
- Were are meteorites are found by mass?
- Meteorites by mass
- Types of meteorites
- Interactive map of meteorite impacts
Approximately 500 tonnes of meteoritic wreckage fall to the planet each day, much of it as little cosmic dust and micrometeorites that sink into the ocean. About five hundred meteorites of moderate size would strike our planet’s surface each year, of which 150 would fall on the landmass, and less than ten would be found. Most meteorites fall in mountainous or remote landscapes and have a lower probability of being found.
Were are meteorites are found by number?
An overwhelming number of meteorites are found in deserts, including ice deserts such as Antarctica. Deserts are areas that accumulate meteorites over thousands of years, and nothing much happens to the fallen meteorite. Moreover, meteorites are more straightforward to discover in deserts than in areas with lots of vegetation or other rocks.
For example, more than 22,000 meteorites have been found in Antarctica alone. Oman comes after Antarctica in terms of the number of meteorites found. During the last 10 years, Oman has yielded almost 1/5 of the globe’s meteorites. Oman’s findings include 1/3 of all known lunar meteorites and some of the examples from Mars. The map below shows the number of meteorites falls by country.
Top 20 countries/landmasses by the number found meteorites
|Rank||Country||Number of meteorites||Rank||Country||Number of meteorites|
Were are meteorites are found by mass?
The geographic concentration of meteorites is significantly different if assessed by mass instead of by number. The field for Antarctica decreases significantly. In Antarctica, all meteorites are gathered regardless of size. Therefore, the median mass of meteorites from Antarctica is 13.43 grams.
Top 20 countries/landmasses by the total mass of all the fallen meteorites.
|Rank||Country||The total mass, tonnes||Rank||Country||The total mass, tonnes|
The map below shows the median mass of the fallen meteorites by country
Top 20 countries/landmasses by the median mass of the fallen meteorites.
|Rank||Country||The median mass, kilograms||Rank||Country||The median mass, kilograms|
Meteorites by mass
The largest discovered meteorite weighs sixty tonnes and yet remains where it fell, at Hoba in Namibia.
Top 10 largest ever meteorites
|Rank||Name||Country||Mass, tonnes||Fall observation year|
|2||Campo del Cielo (El Chaco)||Argentina||37.0||1969|
|3||Cape York (Ahnighito)||Greenland||30.875||1894|
|6||Cape York (Agpalilik)||Greenland||20.1||1963|
|8||Campo del Cielo||Argentina||14.850||2005|
Types of meteorites
There are three principal types of meteorites, depending on how much metal or stony silicate mineral is present:
- stony meteorites (the most frequent type of meteorite; they can be of a reasonably large mass and consist primarily of the silicate minerals olivine and pyroxene with feldspar and scattered nickel-iron)
- iron meteorites (the second most frequent type of meteorite and have the most extensive masses)
- stony-iron meteorites
Each type can be divided into various classes and groups. A more detailed classification of meteorites is primarily based on their mineralogical and petrographic characteristics and their whole-rock chemical and O-isotopic compositions.
According to the more complex modern classification system, meteorites are classified into chondrites, primitive achondrites, and achondrites. There are 15 chondrite groups, including eight carbonaceous (CI, CM, CO, CV, CK, CR, CH, CB), three ordinary (H, L, LL), two enstatites (EH, EL), and R and K chondrites.
Interactive map of meteorite impacts
The interactive map below shows the location of all registered meteorite collisions on Earth. The color highlights the different groups of meteorites according to modern classification. The map was made using NASA data.