Learn About the Gao Meteorite

Basic Information

  • Location: Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta), Africa. Latitude 11 degrees 39 minutes North, Longitude 2 degrees 11 minutes West.

  • Type: Olivine-Bronzite Chondrite, H5.

  • Time of Fall: March 5, 1960, 17:00 local time.

    Location Map

    Here is a map showing where the Gao meteorite fell:


    Little is known of the history of this meteorite. In the years immediately after it fell in 1960, relatively few specimens were collected. In the past few years, the very nice specimens displayed on the Meteorite Market have become available.

    The Fall

    The fall occurred in a triangular area 13 km on a side. Scientists believe that the meteorite underwent three phases of fragmentation as it entered the atmosphere. This means that the searing friction and heat of entry into the atmosphere caused the meteorite to explode into fragments. The fragments continued their decent and were heated and fragment again and a third time as well. The fusion crust on the specimens is evidence of the intense heating and melting of the thin outer layer of the meteorite.


    The minerals olivine and bronzite are described on the Meteorite Mineral Page. The Gao meteorite also contains iron-nickel alloy and will attract a magnet. To find out more about the H5 type click here. To find out about how often H5 meteorites fall or are found click here.

    Find Out More About Meteorites

    These books will help you learn more about meteorites:

    Rocks from Space by O. Richard Norton, Mountain Press, 1994. This book covers just about every aspect of meteorites in a way that the layman can easily understand.

    Meteorites by Robert Hutchinson & Andrew Graham, Sterling, 1993. A book with lots of pictures and answers to many fascinating meteorite questions.

    Meteorites & Their Parent Planets by Harry McSween, Cambridge U. Pr., 1987. Well written book for a layman with a technical background.

    Handbook of Iron Meteorites by Vagn Buchwald, U. of California Press, 1976. A very complete technical description of known iron meteorites.

    Let's Investigate Magical, Mysterious Meteorites by Madelyn Carlisle, Barron's, 1992. A well-done book for children-but written in a way that even adults will learn from it.

    To see our meteorite classification table and learn about the types of meteorites, click here.

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