The Muonionalusta Meteorite is the oldest meteorite discovered, having hit the Earth's surface during the Quaternary period, approximately 1 million years ago. The meteorite experienced four Ice Ages after it hit the surface in many pieces.
The first piece was found in a glacial moraine in the northern tundra near the village of Kitkiöjärvi (Sweden) in 1906 and confirmed as a meteorite in 1910 by Professor A.G. Högbom. He named it Muonionalusta after the nearby Muonio River.
Other fragments (some as large as hundreds of kg) have been found in an area of approximately 25x15 km in the Pajala area, Norrbotten County, approximately 140 km above the Arctic Circle.
Studies have confirmed that this is probably the oldest meteorite found so far, with a dated age of over 4.565 billion years.
The meteorite is classified as an octahedrite, type IVA. The meteorite contains 8.4% nickel and trace amounts of gallium, germanium and indium. The minerals also contain chromite, daubreelite, schreibersite, akaganeite and inclusions of troilite. Assays have also shown the presence of stishovite, a high-pressure form of quartz.