A giant fossil sea monster found in the Arctic and known as “Predator X”

Filed under: Great Finds-specimens,regular postings — Gary March 17, 2009 @ 7:30 am
Cool Video about this new find and article below.
The two-hour special PREDATOR X premieres on HISTORY; on Sunday, March 29 at 8pm ET/PT. On the remote archipelago of Svalbard, just 800 miles from the North Pole, a team of paleontologists from the University of Oslo Natural History Museum, have made a remarkable discovery. Buried beneath the icy landscape of the Arctic are the fossilized remains of a huge creature from the distant past. PREDATOR X is the story of a major discovery; what appears to be an entirely new species; of a massive and powerful predator. The scientific team must excavate it, determine its significance and try to rebuild it to see what it was like — as they discover the astounding power of which this creature was capable. PREDATOR X follows the expedition every step of the way, from painstaking field research to the astonishing find of the amazing creature. The special delves deep into this terrifying ancient mystery, uncovering what is one of the most amazing underwater finds in modern history.
A giant fossil sea monster found in the Arctic and known as “Predator X” had a bite that would make T-Rex look feeble, scientists said Monday.The 50 ft (15 meter) long Jurassic era marine reptile had a crushing 33,000 lbs (15 tonnes) per square inch bite force, the Natural History Museum of Oslo University said of the new find on the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.”With a skull that’s more than 10 feet long you’d expect the bite to be powerful but this is off the scale,” said Joern Hurum, an associate professor of vertebrate paleontology at the museum who led the international excavation in 2008.
“It’s much more powerful than T-Rex,” he said of the pliosaur reptile that would have been a top marine predator. Tyrannosaurus Rex was a top land carnivore among dinosaurs.The scientists reconstructed the predator’s head and estimated the force by comparing it with the similarly-shaped jaws of alligators in a park in Florida.”The calculation is one of the largest bite forces ever calculated for any creature,” the Museum said of the bite, estimated with the help of evolutionary biologist Greg Erickson from Florida State University.

Predator X’s bite was more than 10 times more powerful than any modern animal and four times the bite of a T-Rex, it said of the fossil, reckoned at 147 million years old. Alligators, crocodiles and sharks all now have fearsome bites.

The teeth of the pliosaur, belonging to a new species, were a foot (30 cms) long. The scientists reconstructed the reptile from a partial skull and 20,000 fragments of skeleton.

The pliosaur, estimated to have weighed 45 tonnes, was similar to but had more massive bones than another fossil sea monster found on Svalbard in 2007, also estimated at 50 feet long and the largest pliosaur to date.

“It’s not complete enough to say it’s really bigger than 15 meters,” Hurum said of the new fossil.

Hurum had said of the first fossil pliosaur that it was big enough to chomp on a small car. He said the bite estimates for the latest fossil forced a rethink.

“This one is more like it could crush a Hummer,” he said. referring to General Motors’ large sport utility vehicle.

Among other findings were that the pliosaur had a small thin brain shaped like that of a great white shark, according to scans by Patrick Druckenmiller of the University of Alaska.

Pliosaurs preyed upon squid-like animals, fish, and other marine reptiles. Predator X had four huge flippers to propel itself along, perhaps using just two at cruising speeds and the others for a burst of speed.

Rock Hound Run Report 11-8-07 to 11-11-07

Filed under: Great Finds-specimens,Rockhound stories,Video,field trip reports,regular postings — Gary November 23, 2007 @ 10:51 pm

Thanks Dick, baby is 3 weeks old and SHE :) is doing fine.  Having to get used to 4am feedings again but all worth it!  

Hi Gary hope your life is going well, new baby and all. Here is the trip report from my last trip and a link to the video I took as well as a link to my Partner Ron’s photos and a link to my updated web site with all my trips on it. We found some really nice stuff. Found a hole in the side of a hill with a vein of Blue Lace Agate plus lots laying around on the ground, lots of big Limonite cubes and a couple of Citrine Crystals, a couple pieces of Tourmaline. Some geodes some small pieces of fire Agate and lots of Jasper, red, and Agate. A real good trip!!!!!

coon_hollow_2coon_hollow coon_hollow_video


Dick Wilimek



Rock Hound Run Report

11-8-07 to 11-11-07



Another great rock hound/wheelin trip. We had Tom and Sue in there TJ, Jay in his Pinz, Micheal in his Toyota, Rainer and Marianne in there Ford, and Shawn in his TJ, with the run leaders Dick and Ron in a TJ.

I arrived at Coon Hollow at 5:30 on Wed. and Ron arrived about 7:30. Thursday morning Tom and Sue came in with there motor home towing the Jeep. We hung around camp till about 11:00 to see if anyone was coming in late morning, no one showed up so we headed out for a geode bed that I had been to once, we found it without any trouble, did some looking around there. Sue found some nice stuff and I found a couple of small ones. Then I had heard about a seam of Blue Lace Agate that was south and east of the Potato patch, so we went hunting for that, the trail petered out but we could see it off in the distance, so we found our way over to it. There was a lot of Blue Agate there on the ground in and around the hole and in the tailings pile, also some other stuff. It deserves a return trip; I marked it with the GPS so we can find it again. Then we found a old trail that headed north so we took that and eventually ended back on the Hauser Geode Rd. and back to camp. At camp we saw the Pinz coming down the Opal Hill mine Rd. and Jay was there in a few minutes. Since it was around 3:00 by then we decided to call it a day. Micheal came into camp before dark on Thursday, we talked on the 2 meter radio, when he had just turned on to the Bradshaw trail just north of Palo Verde, using simplex that is about 10 miles as the crow fly’s.

Friday morning sunrise was spectacular, reds oranges yellows and a blue sky with some clouds. S0 after some discussion we decided to head for the Opal hill mine and Pebble Terrace. You can find/pickup Agate, Jasper, Fire Agate, Petrified wood and Sea sponge plus some other pretty cool stuff. In fact Jay found a real nice piece of Fire Agate with orange color in the nice round bubble on it. While we were there we helped pull a guy out that was stuck in some soft sand, Jay’s Pinz had no problem with the ¾ ton Pickup. Then back to camp for some lunch. We decide due to a challenge from some other friends that were camped out there as well, to a Potato Gun shoot off. What fun that was, Toms was the most reliable, and mine went the farthest and well Bob’s is fun also!!!! During the shoot off Shawn came into camp and then a little later Rainer and Marianne arrived.

On Saturday we went to the Limonite Cube fields, we tried a different spot, that Shawn had found the previous day and it was great, lots of big ones and some Crystals, Shawn found two really nice Citrine Crystals and some large Tourmaline, green and pink and black and a clear, crystals. We stayed out there for around three hours, then back to camp. Saturday night we all went on a night run to an area a fellow camper directed us to, he called it Jasper Flats, looking for rocks at night with flashlights is kind of fun I must say. When we got back to camp Jay headed for home and we had another camp fire as we did every night there. On Sunday Ron packed up by 9:00 was on the road, Micheal took some directions from me and headed for the Geode Beds, he was meeting up with some other friends to take the Bradshaw trail back to Indio. I packed up by 9:40 and hit the road. Tom and Sue were getting ready also. Rainer and Marianne had planned to stay till Monday, lucky them!!!

Oh yes I almost forgot Jay, Tom and I did a night run on Thursday night we had a good time running down some washes. Thanks to Ron for all his great photos and I hope anyone else who took photos will post them to the run Album. I took a short movie and will get it posted in the next few days. Thanks to every one who made the trip, I think that it was one of the best ones we have done. They just seem to get better every time!!!!!




Man nearly tosses 4.38-carat diamond- MURFREESBORO, Ark

Filed under: Great Finds-specimens,regular postings — Gary November 5, 2007 @ 10:05 pm


MURFREESBORO, Ark. – Chad Johnson has found about 80 diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park, but on Monday he nearly threw away his largest find yet. A cube-shaped rock plucked out of his sifters turned out to be a 4.38-carat, tea-colored diamond.

Johnson, 36, made the dig Saturday at the park and left his equipment in a locker. When he came back Monday morning, he made the discovery.

Crater of Diamonds State Park, which opened in 1972, is the world’s only diamond-producing site open to the public, and visitors can keep the gems they unearth. The largest diamond found at the park was the 16.37-carat Amarillo Starlight, a white diamond found in 1975.

Johnson’s find is the second-largest diamond uncovered at the park this year. In June, a Louisiana man found a 4.8-carat stone. More than 700 diamonds have been found there this year.

Since moving to Arkansas from Iowa in February, Johnson said, he was living off money made by selling diamonds. He only recently took a job at a convenience store, partly because he “got tired of selling diamonds to make ends meet.”

Park officials declined to speculate how much money Johnson could get for the diamond. Johnson suggested he expects much more than what he is used to getting.

“If someone offers me that much money, it’s theirs,” Johnson said.

Teen finds 2.93-carat stone at diamond park !

Filed under: Great Finds-specimens,regular postings — Gary June 7, 2007 @ 11:23 pm

Associated Press


MURFREESBORO, Ark. — Walking along a path taken by thousands of others at the Crater of Diamonds State Park, Nicole Ruhter noticed something everyone else had missed — a tea-coloured, 2.93-carat diamond.

Ruhter, 13, of Butler, Mo., said she would name her find the “Pathfinder Diamond” after pulling what she described as a broken pyramid from the ground. Her parents, grandparents, brother and two sisters had already spent the day digging in two other fields before heading down the path just after 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“We were walking through the path and I just walked and saw this little shine,” said Ruhter, who has just finished the seventh-grade. “We wrapped it up in a little dollar bill and took it back and showed them.”

Ruhter said both park rangers and her vacationing family got excited about the diamond, found along a service road. So far this year, visitors to the park have found 332 diamonds, three of them Tuesday alone, said Bill Henderson, assistant park superintendent.

While the park does not do appraisals, Henderson said experts appraised a 4-carat diamond found previously in the park between US$15,000 to $60,000. Henderson said Ruhter’s diamond did have chips and several imperfections.

“It’s a nice diamond,” he said. “It looked like it had been broken off at one side.”

For now, Ruhter and her family said they’d keep the diamond for a time and find out how much it is worth before attempting to sell it.

“I was kind of praying to God. I was saying, ‘I don’t care if it’s worth whatever it’s worth, I don’t care if it’s a tiny little sliver of something, I just want something,’” Ruhter said. “Ten minutes later, I just found it.”

Crater of Diamonds State Park is the world’s only diamond-producing site open to the public and visitors are allowed to keep the gems they find. On average, two diamonds are found each day at the park.

The largest of the 25,000 diamonds found since the state park was established in 1972 was the 16.37-carat Amarillo Starlight, a white diamond found by a visitor from Texas in 1975.

Mexico’s Cueva de los Cristales (Cave of Crystals)-largest natural crystals ever found!

Filed under: Great Finds-specimens,regular postings — Gary May 25, 2007 @ 9:05 am

Giant Crystal Cave’s Mystery Solved

Stefan Lovgren
for National Geographic News
April 6, 2007

It’s “the Sistine Chapel of crystals,” says Juan Manuel García- Ruiz.

cave_of_crystals Mexico’s Cave of Crystals contains some of the world’s largest known natural crystals—translucent beams of gypsum as long as 36 feet (11 meters). A new study says the gems reached their vast sizes thanks to a peculiar combination of consistent volcanic heat and a rich watery mixture.

The geologist announced this week that he and a team of researchers have unlocked the mystery of just how the minerals in Mexico‘s Cueva de los Cristales (Cave of Crystals) achieved their monumental forms.

Buried a thousand feet (300 meters) below Naica mountain in the Chihuahuan Desert, the cave was discovered by two miners excavating a new tunnel for the Industrias Peñoles company in 2000.

The cave contains some of the largest natural crystals ever found: translucent gypsum beams measuring up to 36 feet (11 meters) long and weighing up to 55 tons.

“It’s a natural marvel,” said García-Ruiz, of the University of Granada in Spain.

To learn how the crystals grew to such gigantic sizes, García-Ruiz studied tiny pockets of fluid trapped inside.

The crystals, he said, thrived because they were submerged in mineral-rich water with a very narrow, stable temperature range—around 136 degrees Fahrenheit (58 degrees Celsius).

At this temperature the mineral anhydrite, which was abundant in the water, dissolved into gypsum, a soft mineral that can take the form of the crystals in the Naica cave.

The new findings appeared in the April issue of the journal Geology.

City-sized fossilized forest found

Filed under: Great Finds-specimens,regular postings — Gary April 30, 2007 @ 10:44 pm

City-sized fossilized forest found

Courtesy University of Bristol

Re­search­ers have found a cit­y-sized fos­sil­ized for­est in an Il­li­nois coal mine, and they say it trans­forms our un­der­stand­ing of the Earth’s first rain­for­ests.

No­where else, sci­en­tists say, can one lit­er­al­ly walk through such a huge swath of rain­for­est from the Car­bon­if­er­ous era. That was a time 360 mil­lion to 290 mil­lion years ago when true rep­tiles ap­peared, gi­ant dra­gon­flies buzzed and vast swamps spread, which lat­er formed coal.

A huge earth­quake 300 mil­lion years ago caused the whole re­gion around this for­est to col­lapse be­low sea lev­el, ac­cord­ing to the sci­en­tists. Mud then bur­ied the ter­rain and pre­served it for­ev­er.

The for­est offers a bi­zarre med­ley of ex­tinct plants. They in­clude plen­ti­ful club mosses, or pri­mi­tive moss-like plants, more than 40 me­tres (131 feet) high. These tow­ered over mixes of tree ferns, shrubs and tree-sized horse­tails.


Interesting rockhounding find – Heart shaped rocks sent in by reader

Filed under: Great Finds-specimens,regular postings — Gary February 25, 2007 @ 12:08 pm

Thought I would share this neat rock I found recently.  Enjoy!!!  :)


Melissa and My Furry Friends, Reba, Tiger, Lucas and Jagger as well as Cally, Mick and Bufford

Arkansas Man Discovers ‘Star of Thelma’ White Diamond- MURFREESBORO, Ark

Filed under: Great Finds-specimens,regular postings — Gary February 18, 2007 @ 1:00 pm

uncle_sam_diamond This is a picture of the largest diamond found at the Crater of Diamonds- The crystal from which the Uncle Sam Diamond was cut, weighing 40.23 carats. The Uncle Sam was eventually cut to an emerald shape weighing 12.42 carats. Couldn’t find a picture of the “Star of Thelma”. Send me a comment or email ( if you can find one on the net.

MURFREESBORO, Ark. — An Arkansas man has found a 2.37-carat white diamond at the world’s only diamond-bearing site where visitors are allowed to search for and keep the gems they find.

Gary Dunlap of Jefferson named the diamond he found the Star of Thelma to honor his wife of more than 10 years. Dunlap’s find was the fourth-largest diamond found in 2006 at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro. In all, 486 diamonds have been found at the park this year.


Dinosaur eggs reportedly found in India

Filed under: Great Finds-specimens,regular postings — Gary February 6, 2007 @ 10:47 pm

Associated Press


NEW DELHI — Three Indian explorers have recovered more than 100 fossilized eggs of dinosaurs in a remote area in a central Indian state, a news report said Monday.

The amateurs also found footprints of the dinosaurs through which they could also trace the ‘track way’ of the now extinct heavy animals, The Hindustan Times Web site quoted Vishal Verma, one of them, as saying.


wonderful candy red amethyst specimen story- WOW! Great find!

Filed under: Great Finds-specimens,regular postings — Gary January 23, 2007 @ 3:00 pm


Here is a story of how we came across this wonderful candy red amethyst specimen. I have attached pictures of the specimen and have many more excellent finds if you like this one.


To explain the rarity of this form of amethyst I have to elaborate on the locality of where this specimen comes from. I can sum it
all up by saying that removing amethyst from this locality is an Indiana Jones type adventure, but I wont spare the details, as I know one of my
favorite things about collecting minerals is learning about where they come from. The mine where this form of amethyst comes from is located
about 200 or so miles north of Thunder Bay, Ontario (Canada’s most famous amethyst district). After following an old logging road (similar to
heading straight through a national park trail) for about 30 miles, the road ends in thick, really thick forest where the 5 mile hike to the mine