The first mission designed to hunt a meteorite that crashed into the ocean has now discovered what may be tiny fragments of the meteorite’s crust, researchers say.
By Charles Q. Choi | SPACE.com
On March 7, three National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather stations detected the fall of a meteorite about 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) off the coast of Washington state. „The fall was widely seen around local areas and widely heard around local areas — it came with some loud sonic booms,“ Marc Fries, the cosmic dust curator for NASA, told Live Science.
Fries estimated this fall might yield about 4,400 lbs. (2,000 kilograms) of meteorites. He also calculated the largest meteorite might weigh about 9.7 lbs. (4.4 kg) and have a diameter of about 5 inches (12 centimeters). [Crash! The 10 Biggest Impact Craters on Earth]
„This is the largest meteorite fall I’ve seen in 20-plus years of radar data,“ Fries said.
The details the scientists had regarding the fall suggested the meteorite was unusually strong, Fries said. This knowledge, in combination with the fact the meteorite landed on a soft seafloor as opposed to dry land, suggested this ocean fall might yield large, relatively intact meteorites for scientists to study.