Bendegó meteorite

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Bendegó meteorite, front, National Museum, Rio de Janeiro.jpg
Bendegó meteorite, front, National Museum, Rio de Janeiro
Type Iron
Country Brazil
Region Bahia
Coordinates 10°07′01″S 39°15′41″W / 10.11694°S 39.26139°W / -10.11694; -39.26139Coordinates: 10°07′01″S 39°15′41″W / 10.11694°S 39.26139°W / -10.11694; -39.26139
Observed fall No
Alternative names Bendengó
Museu Nacional, UFRJ - Quinta da Boa Vista 3.jpg
Commons page Related media on Wikimedia Commons

The Bendegó Meteorite (also known as Pedra do Bendegó or simply Bendengó) is a meteorite found in the interior of the state of Bahia, Brazil. It is the biggest iron meteorite ever found in Brazilian soil, weighting 5,360 kilograms (11,820 lb). It has been on display at the National Museum of Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro, since 1888.[1][2]

It survived the fire that destroyed the museum in 2018, sustaining no major damage.[3][4]


The Bendegó meteorite was found in 1784 by the boy Domingos da Motta Botelho, who grazed cattle on a farm near the present town of Monte Santo, Bahia. At the time of its finding, it was the second largest meteorite in the world. Judging from the four-inch layer of oxidation upon which it rested, and the lost part of its lower portion, it is estimated that it had been in place for thousands of years.[5]

Transport to Museum[edit]

News of the finding were quick to spread. In 1785, governor D. Rodrigues Menezes arranged for it to be transported to Salvador, however, the meteorite's excessive weight made transportation difficult. The cart it was on ran out of control down a hill and the meteorite fell into a dry stream bed, 180 meters away from the spot where it was originally found. It remained there until 1888, when it was recovered and brought to the National Museum.[4]

Description and composition[edit]

The meteorite is an irregular mass, 2.20 m × 1.45 m × 0.58 m (7.2 ft × 4.8 ft × 1.9 ft) reminding, in appearance, an asteroid. It has numerous depressions on the surface and cylindrical holes oriented parallel to its greater length. These holes were formed by the burning of the troilite, during the transatmospheric passage of the meteorite, since the sulfide has a lower melting point than the rest of the meteorite, consuming more quickly. It is a metallic meteorite, consisting basically of iron, with the following elements: 6.6% Ni, 0.47% Co, 0.22% P, and traces of S and C in much smaller quantities, only measured in parts by million.[6]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Geologia - Meteoritos" (in Portuguese). National Museum - UFRJ. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  2. ^ ARAS, José. No Sertão do Conselheiro
  3. ^ "Bendegó: el meteorito que resistió las llamas del incendio del Museo Nacional de Brasil". BioBioChile - La Red de Prensa Más Grande de Chile (in Spanish). 3 September 2018. Retrieved 3 September 2018. 
  4. ^ a b Brazil National Museum fire: Key treasures at risk 3 Sep 2018
  5. ^ AGUIAR, Durval Vieira. Descrição Prática da Província da Bahia, Salvador 1888
  6. ^ "Bendego meteorite". Retrieved August 11, 2017.