200 million years old, but gone overnight

SIMON EDWARDS
Last updated 16:43 23/11/2012
Julian Thomson
Educator’s lament: GNS educator Julian Thomson says a bagfull of ancient rock samples and fossils - such as the moa bone, volcano ‘‘bomb’’ (basalt spewed from an Antarctic volcano) and fossilised leaves he is holding - were stolen from his car over

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Rock samples and fossils, some of them 200 million years old, have gone overnight.

A backpack full of samples belonging to Geological and Nuclear Sciences Outreach Educator Julian Thomson was stolen from his car in Belmont some time after 10pm on Thursday night.

Mr Thomson says they're samples he has collected over the last 25 years and although their monetary value is negligible, they have huge personal value.

Some he found after a long slog into the back-blocks, others are from places as far flung as Antarctica, Britain and France.

For the past five years Mr Thomson has been going out to give talks to schools, old folks homes and community groups. 

''I talk about the excitement of geology and all the sorts of things that keep GNS busy - earthquakes, volcanoes, fossils, local geology of Wellington...whatever the group or the teacher wants me to present.

''I guess my whole passion for geology is that rocks tell a story.''

The stolen samples may look ''innocuous, even uninteresting'' but when people understand them, and what's behind them, they can learn a lot about the history of the earth, he says.

The eight large chunks of rock and a moa bone were in a red and grey mid-sized backpack.  Whoever stole them from his driveway in Hill Rd ''wouldn't have wanted to walk very far.  They're quite heavy.

''These are rocks with a story, and it's a bit of a sad ending if they're just going to be thrown out into some bushes somewhere at the side of the road because someone doesn't think they're useful for anything.''

Mr Thomson says the crown research insitute will be ''very forgiving'' if the thief returns them anonymously to outside the GNS building in Fairway Dr, opposite Avalon Park, any time. 

Or call the GNS front desk on 570-1444 and let the receptionist know where they can be found.

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