AP – Scientists searching the seafloor off the coast of Grays Harbor have found remnants of a meteor that lit up the Pacific Northwest sky and splashed down in March.
The Seattle Times reports that an eight-hour search at sea Monday yielded two tiny fragments of molten rock.
NASA’s curator of cosmic dust, Mark Fries, says the fragments must be examined more closely to confirm they came from the meteor but he’s optimistic.
He says it’s the first intentional search for meteorites at sea.
The samples will be given to the Smithsonian Institution, which houses the national meteorite collection, after they have been examined by Fries.
If they are confirmed to be from space, and determined to contain enough material to be officially certified as a new meteorite then it will need a name.
Members of the Quinault Indian Nation, which is the closest community to the splashdown site, have been asked to suggest possibilities.
Crew members aboard the Nautilus, the nonprofit ship that conducted the search, said the search was challenging because the seafloor was soft and muddy.
The fireball and sonic boom that was created when the golf-cart-sized rock hit the earth’s atmosphere the night of March 7 were seen, heard, and felt along the Washington coast.
For more information about the Nautilus visit http://www.nautiluslive.org/