Mbozi meteorite “Swahili”(Kimondo cha Mbozi)

The Mbozi Meteorite has been known for centuries, but the lack of legends recounting its sudden and undoubtedly fiery arrival suggests that it fell to earth a thousand years before the current inhabitants arrived. The meteorite was officially discovered in 1930 when only the top was visible.

About 65km southwest of Mbeya is the Mbozi meteorite, one of the largest meteorites in the world. Weighing an estimated 25 metric tonnes, it’s around 3m long and 1m tall. Scientists are unsure when it hit the earth, but it is assumed to have been many thousands of years ago since there are no traces of the crater that it must have made when it fell, nor any local legends regarding its origins

Historical background

Mbozi is an ungrouped iron meteorite found in Tanzania. It is one of the world’s largest meteorites, variously estimated as the fourth-largest to the eighth-largest, it is located near the city of Mbeya in Tanzania‘s southern highlands. The meteorite is 3 meters (9.8 ft) long, 1 meter (3 ft 3 in) high, and weighs an estimated 16 metric tons (16 long tons; 18 short tons
It is among the 10 heaviest meteorites in the world, ranked 8th in the world and 2nd in Africa.

Discovery and naming

Mbozi has been long known to locals, who call it kimondo, yet became known to outsiders only in the 1930s. It is named after Mbozi District, in Mbeya (Tanzania). When it was discovered by scientists in 1930 it didn’t have a crater. The meteorite is believed to have fallen thousands of years ago. It was first witnessed by an African blacksmith named Halale of Nyiha ethnicity and later in 1930, it was documented by a European surveyor known as William Natt.
The Mbozi meteorite lies on the southwest of Marengi Hill, about 15 kilometers from Songwe center.


Mbozi consists of meteoric iron with small silicate inclusions. The meteoric iron has a nickel concentration of 8% and shows a Widmanstätten pattern.
The Germanium-Gallium ratio is larger than 10, which can also be seen in meteorites of the IIF iron meteorite group and the Eagle station pallasites.
The silicate inclusions have a core and mantle structure in thin sections.
The mantle is made from glass, that is partially devitrified into pyroxene and plagioclase. The core consists
of quartz.


Currently classified as an ungrouped iron meteorite Mbozi shows similarities with IIF iron meteorites, the Eagle station pallasites, and a few other ungrouped iron meteorites (e.g., Bocaiuva meteorite.

Mbozi Meteorite At Glance

To expose the entire meteorite, the hillside around it was excavated, leaving a pillar of soil beneath the meteorite that was then reinforced with concrete to serve as a base plate. The irregular notches on the pointed end were caused by souvenir hunters hacking out chunks, which was no easy task given the strength of the nickel-iron of which it is made. It is unique in
that it is composed primarily of iron (90.45 percent) and nickel (8.69 percent), with minimal amounts of copper, sulfur, and phosphorus.
The meteorite is a fragment of interplanetary matter that was large enough to avoid being completely burned up when entering Earth’s atmosphere. But the fragment is small enough to avoid exploding; of the estimated five hundred meteorites that fall to earth each year, only thirty percent strike land, and less than ten are reported and recorded.

People have valued meteorite jewelry for its beauty and because they believed these stones had healing properties. Iron meteorites were also commonly associated with balance and strength, and the nickel in these meteorites was believed to purify the wearer’s blood.

A trip to the Meteorite Site is always exciting, especially if you travel in a group and use public transportation to get a better taste of the countryside and face some adventures. This allows the group to interact with the locals, who are always willing to share their perspectives with visitors.