Pacific Northwest Meteor Likely Broke Up in Air

Despite witness accounts that a meteor that streaked across the Pacific Northwest skies this week struck the Earth, scientists at the University of Washington say it likely disintegrated in the sky.

Some witnesses reported seeing Tuesday's meteor hit the ground southwest of Ritzville in central Washington, sending local officials on a fruitless hunt for the crater.

Using readings from instruments in the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, scientists at the UW campus in Seattle said Wednesday they believe the meteor disintegrated above the Blue Mountains, about 25 miles north of LaGrande, Ore., at an altitude of about 19 miles.

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Stephen Malone, professor emeritus of space sciences and former director of the seismic network, worked with colleagues at the UW and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland to determine the fate of the space visitor.

They triangulated the location of the disintegration using readings from seismometers, the UW said in a news release.

Malone noted that the readings might be a bit off because the seismometer closest to the disintegration point has been out of commission since January.

People in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and British Columbia reported seeing a bright fireball streaking across the sky about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.