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  Geotimes - April 2008 - Meteor shocks Pacific Northwest

Meteor shocks Pacific Northwest

At about 5:31 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19, a bright, flaming fireball streaked across the pre-dawn sky in the Pacific Northwest near Portland, Ore., and exploded with a large blast that lit up the horizon and rattled windows, witnesses say. Security cameras at a Portland hospital captured the fireball’s arrival on film, and dozens of reports of eyewitness sightings came in from across Washington and Oregon and even as far away as Idaho and British Columbia. No one has found pieces of the meteorite yet or any craters, but researchers are on the lookout, and suggest that anyone who finds any evidence of it should call the experts.

Geologists at Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory say that they have received calls from people in three separate locations in Oregon who said they saw pieces of the meteorite strike the ground, but they haven’t confirmed the findings yet. “We can hope for holes in barn roofs,” says Dick Pugh of Portland State University’s Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory, as that would make any fragments easier to find. But more likely the meteorite fragments are scattered among eastern Oregon’s wheatfields or in the Blue Mountains, which he says would make them exceedingly difficult to locate.

Most meteors burn up in the atmosphere before striking Earth, so for this one to get as close as it did — and maybe hit the planet, thus becoming a “meteorite” — means it was once a very big piece of rock.

Megan Sever

This story originally appeared on Geotimes online on Feb. 20, 2008. Read the full story.

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