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Scientists search for meteorite pieces off Washington coast

TAHOLAH, Wash. — Scientists are planning to search the seafloor off the Washington coast for remnants of a meteor that lit up the Pacific Northwest sky and splashed down in March.

NASA’s curator of cosmic dust, Marc Fries, is leading the hunt for the massive meteor on Monday in waters off Grays Harbor County.

The Seattle Times reports that Fries used weather radar to locate the splashdown zone about 16 miles offshore of the Quinault Indian Nation village of Taholah.

On Monday he’ll have the help of the vessel Nautilus operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust, founded by explorer Robert Ballard. The crew agreed to devote a day and their sophisticated equipment.

Fries says he’s optimistic about finding meteorites partly because the space rock that exploded in a fireball and sonic boom was huge. He says about 2 tons of rock survived the plunge and scattered over a half-mile of seafloor.