African Meteorites

Meteorite Falls in Africa

Author(s): Fouad Khiri*, Abderrahmane Ibhi and Lahcen Ouknine

Pp: 29-57 (29)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815136296123010006

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Collecting meteorites just after their fall is a fundamental element to continue to gather information on the history of our solar system. During the period 1800-2020, 170 observed meteorite falls were recorded in Africa. The mass of fragments collected for any African meteorite range from 1.4 g to 175 kg, with a predominance of cases from 1 to 10 kg. The average rate of observed falls in Africa is low, with only one recovery per 1.29 years (i.e., 0.026 per year and per million km2 ). The African collection of observed falls is dominated by chondrites (84.4%), as in the world collection. The achondrites (10%) include three famous Martian meteorite falls: Nakhla (Egypt), Tissint (Morocco), and Zagami (Nigeria), whereas the observed iron meteorite falls are relatively rare (i.e., 5% of the collection). The rate of documented falls in Africa has been increasing since 1860, with 88% recovered during the period 1910-2020. Most of these falls have been observed and then collected in North-Western Africa, Eastern Africa and Southern Africa, in countries that feature a large area and a large but evenly distributed population. Other factors that are proven to be favorable to the observation and collection of meteorite falls on the African territory are a genuine meteorite education, the semi-arid to arid climate offering clear skies most of the time, cultivated land or sparse grassland and the possible access to the fall location favored by a low percentage of forest cover and a dense road network..

Keywords: Africa, Classification, Distribution factors, Observed meteorite falls, Statistics.

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