Fell 14 July, 2006 10:20 hrs


Total known weight 3.76 kilograms.


              At 10:20 am, a bright fireball was seen from the Baltic sea to Oslo, heading northwest up the east side of the Oslofjord. Many people on the cruise ships in the fjord saw the meteorite fall, but no video is known. Many explosions and booms were heard by people in the Rygge and Moss area. A man named Ragnar Martinsen was using an outdoor toilet at a summer cabin near Rygge heard the explosions and thought that it had something to do with the nearby military base, but moments later he heard a loud bang as something hit a piece of tin laying on the ground outside the toilet. He went out and found a small 36.7 gram meteorite smashed on the tin and pieces in the surrounding grass. That night on the local news, he saw in interview with a Norwegian astronomer telling people that a large meteorite had fallen and seeking information. The man called him, and the news of the Moss meteorite became public.

Ragnar Martinsen and family holding pieces of the Moss meteorite which impacted a piece of tin laying on the ground outside of an outdoor toilet while he was using it! Photo by Morten Bilet in Moss-Avis newspaper.

 A day later the Johansen family returned to their home in Moss, and while mowing the lawn, the father noticed a limb broken off of a cherry tree in his yard and a hole in the ground next to the tree. He saw a 752 gram complete black stone laying on the ground next to the hole. He had seen the news about the meteorite fall and photos of the first stone, so he knew that this stone was a meteorite.

Read an article in Norwegian news about this stone. CLICK HERE

Eva Johansen holding the 752 gram meteorite that hit her tree. Photo courtesy of Moss-Avis newspaper.

   This meteorite is now in the Norway National meteorite collection in Oslo.


          At this time I was in Arizona, planning a trip to Sweden to hunt for Muonionalusta iron meteorites only two weeks away, so I rapidly changed my tickets and diverted to Norway to hunt for the Moss meteorite. Robert Ward, Bob Haag and I flew to Norway and met up with Moritz Karl who had driven from Germany and Morten Bilet, a Norwegian meteorite collector who lives in the area. We arrived and I drove to Moss, a little over an hour from Oslo, and it turns out that our hotel was directly in the center of the strewnfield. Many other people from Europe arrived at the same time, several Germans, a team from Poland, Swedes, British, and Italians.

A couple of days after we arrived, we saw fragments of a large piece that weighed nearly two kilograms. The piece had landed and shattered in a yard and was bought by Norwegian and Canadian hunters. After seeing those fresh pieces, we were so excited to be hunting such a rare meteorite.

We searched franticly for meteorites day after day, hunting in dense forest in the seaside community. The name Moss is no joke, every inch of ground was covered with a thick carpet of moss plants, making the search for meteorites very difficult. Further complicating the search was the time of year, July and August is when almost all Norwegians take vacations, so most people were not there making it difficult to secure permission to hunt yards and clean properties.

After a week, most of the hunters had given and gone home  up due to so little suitable ground to hunt and no finds. Morten Bilet and I on the second to last hunting day I had, 30 July, decided to drive around in the town area where the piece had hit the tree, and search parking lots and other areas. It was a Sunday, so the town was very quiet and as we drove, we went into an industrial area, where we thought the large parking lots and storage yards might provide some good searching ground. We saw a factory that produces cement poles for utilities, and it was a large clean area to hunt. As we drove up a dirt road to an underground building with a ground-level rooftop, I got out of the car to check the rooftop for damage. As I was standing there looking over the rooftop, Morten Bilet yelled "Mike, a piece"!





Michael Farmer, moments after finding a ~900 gram Moss CO3.6 meteorite shattered in a parking lot. You can see the fragments laying everywhere, this is before we did any collecting, so they are as found.







I looked down and I was standing amid small broken meteorite fragments. They looked like cement, with a dark gray color, but Morten had seen black fusion crust on one of them. We went berserk (a Norwegian term for crazy) rushing around looking at pieces everywhere, on top of the roof, on top of machinery  and in the parking lot, many of them smashed into dust by cars running over them. We were so excited and in shock, a lot of back-slapping, hugging and hand-shaking took place. Luckily the lot was used very little during that time of summer so most pieces were saved.

A very happy me, after more than a week of fruitless searching, finally JACKPOT! We had to tread very carefully since there were meteorite pieces everywhere and each was very valuable and fragile. 

This is the point of impact. The Moss meteorite is quite fragile, and when it smashed into the cement, the meteorite smashed and this pile of dust and small fragments is the exact spot it touched down on our planet. Of course we collected all of this material with some work.


Morten Bilet and Robert Ward collecting pieces of the Moss meteorite. We found it about 2 hours before dark and we had to leave the site, rush some miles back to our hotel and get Robert, who was relaxing that evening. We wanted him to be a part of the find and to help us collect specimens before dark. The next day we hunted that area all day and found many more pieces. Other hunters later returned to this place and found a few more grams of fragments we had missed.

A selection of some of the larger pieces we found. I kept the large piece in the upper left as my main collection specimen. It weighs 43.36 grams.

When I returned home some weeks later after hunting in Sweden, I cut a piece of Moss, and was amazed at the amount of free metal. As one of the only fresh CO3 meteorites I have ever seen cut, I was surprised how much metal is there.


A week after I left Norway, a large rainstorm came in over Moss and a moving and storage company very close to the #2 stone experienced a leak in the roof. When they called a repairman he climbed up on the rooftop and found a hole with a large meteorite embedded down inside the roof. This meteorite weighed 676 grams.

Read an article about this meteorite find here. CLICK HERE

676 gram 100% complete Moss meteorite which penetrated the roof of the Norgesgruppen warehouse in Moss.

Photo courtesy of the Aftenposten newspaper. This meteorite is now in the Norway National meteorite collection in Oslo.


Stones recovered from the Moss fall.



Date (2006)

Latitude (N)

Longitude (E)

Mass (g)




14 July




K. J Røed Ødegaard

Complete stone + some fragments.


17 July





Complete; hit tree, landed in grass; angular shape.


23 July





Half stone + fragments; hit fence and shattered.


30 July





M. Bilet

Many pieces; hit concrete in industrial area.


3 Aug





Complete stone; penetrated roof of building; angular shape.


This table from the Meteoritical Bulletin shows every Moss meteorite found, ours was #4. 

This Google Earth map shows the approximate locations of all Moss meteorite finds. You can see that most of the land is either water, both freshwater lakes and ocean fjords. The larger masses were headed directly toward the Oslofjord, and most likely ended up in the ocean. As you can see, the area between Moss#1 and Moss# 2 is also mostly water. We searched pretty hard on the large island but it was mostly dense forest, impossible to find the small stones that certainly fell on the island.


        My family immigrated to the USA from Norway in the mid 19th century and I am of Norwegian descent. It was amazing to finally return to the land of my ancestors and hunt meteorites in Norway. What was better was the friendships I made and success we had from working as a team sharing information and tactics. I will never forget the Moss hunt of 2006. Sadly, the five stones found will almost certainly be all that is ever found, the extremely wet environment and fragile nature of the Moss meteorite ensured that anything not recovered immediately would rapidly deteriorate or be lost under the plant growth.