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Sea Monsters of the North: Day 8

You would have thought the prospect of moving tons of waterlogged permafrost, hour after hour after hour, would make people sneak out the back door. But with the chance of the team finding our first ever plesiosaur skull, people are jumping at the chance to dig.

Sea Monsters of the North: Day 7

The head of the plesiosaur remains hidden, but progress is made in the final days of the Spitsbergen expedition.

Sea Monsters of the North: Day 6–Mountain vs. Chainsaw

With the prospect of finding their first ever plesiosaur skull, the team brings out chainsaws and pickaxes to carve away the rock and dirt above the spot where the animal’s neck disappears into the mountainside.

Sea Monsters of the North: Day 5

Moving to a new vantage point, Jørn and the team set their sights to find more ancient remains and come up with two almost instantly.

Sea Monsters of the North: Day 2

The search for sea monster fossils in the frozen north continues, and in a matter of hours the team has found more specimens than the rest of the world will find in the next couple of years.

Sea Monsters of the North: Day 1

2011 Emerging Explorer Jørn Hurum is currently on Spitsbergen Island in the Arctic Circle excavating the remains of ancient marine reptiles worthy of the most fantastic Norse legends.

Banking Seeds for Doomsday

In these times of tumultuous weather patterns and no certainty about the future stability of Earth’s climate as civilization has known it, it’s reassuring that a significant portion of the planet’s legacy of plant diversity has been stashed for safekeeping deep inside an Arctic mountain.

Witnessing Change and Searching for Wilderness: Circumnavigating the Svalbard Archipelago in the Arctic Circle

In August 2008, I was fortunate enough to join an expedition ship on a circumnavigation of the Svalbard Archipelago in the Arctic Circle, going as far north as 81⁰N. I was on a personal mission to experience and celebrate this Arctic wilderness. Life on a grand scale in this far away place of rock and ice.…

National Geographic Launches Global Exploration Fund

“There is still so much to explore and discover about our planet,” National Geographic Executive Vice President for Mission Programs, Terry Garcia, said today at the launch of National Geographic’s new Global Exploration Fund. “We are at the beginning of our greatest age of exploration.”

Spitsbergen Expedition: Grand Finale

After two weeks excavating ancient “sea monster” fossils above the Arctic Circle, NG Emerging Explorer Jørn Hurum and his team pull one last set of bones from the Earth and bid farewell to a site like none other.

Spitsbergen Expedition: Final Excavation

As the annual field expedition searching for Arctic sea monster fossils draws to a close, the team must decide which sites to excavate, and which to leave for future expeditions. And of course, there’s another snow storm to deal with.

Spitsbergen Expedition: Fossil Hunting in a Snow Storm

With limited time for the expedition, the team must continue the work searching for and excavating fossils despite the sudden arrival of a bitterly cold and wet Arctic snow storm.

Spitsbergen Expedition: Ancient “Flipper’s” Flipper

Excavations continue at Emerging Explorer Jørn Hurum’s fossil finding expedition, as the weather turns surprisingly warm, and the flipper of a dolphin-like ichthyosaur is revealed by a team member on video.

Spitsbergen Expedition: More Fossil Finds and a “How-To” Lesson

As the team hits the one-week mark, new discoveries continue to be made, and the team reveals how to plaster a fossil find. (Useful information to have, next time you’re digging through shale in the arctic.)

Spitsbergen Expedition: Animals Big and Small

A nearby polar bear puts the team on high-alert, as plesiosaur excavations continue, and sea urchin fossils are discovered just outside camp.