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Jocky

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Jocky

I will be posting in this thread with lots of information about fossil hunting in Qatar.

I will add a general guide soon as well as specifics of various types of fossil and the geology they are normally found in.

CHEERS

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Jocky

Assumptions:

  • Wherever you look for fossils in Qatar you will need someone's permission

The vast majority of land is owned by the government through companies like Qatar Petroleum. The onus is on you to find out who owns the land you are going to look on and get permission.

  • Do not go into the desert on your own ever

Some parts of Qatar are very remote but are well served with rescue services but they are no good to you if you slip on a rock and knock yourself out. A companion can at least raise the alarm.

  • it gets hotter than humans can cope with

It is not unusual in the summer to get air temperatures around 55 Celsius (131 F) with 80% humidity in the desert. It is difficult to breath never mind focus on finding fossils. In those conditions it is not possible to consume enough water to balance the fluid loss. So if you start to feel dizzy or suddenly develop a headache stop what you are doing and get medical help.

  • You will need a 4WD vehicle

Desert driving is a skill that no one is born with. It has to be learned from someone who already knows. Getting stuck in sand 20Km from a road is not fun and potentially lethal. Do a few experience trips with an experienced desert driver.

  • The desert is a dangerous place

I have found dead camels whom after thousands of years of evolution cannot survive the desert. Fill the vehicle with water and drink a lot. In summer the average light skinned European will last 90 minutes without water / shade / cooling. Double that if you have a large floppy hat. The good news is that there are no native snakes or scorpions so bites are not an issue.

The next post will be a bit more upbeat I promise.

Edited by Jocky

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Jocky

A little bit of background and a few pictures.

Dave looking for Gastropods

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Close up of the structure of the Limestone outcrops. Note the chalk at the base which weathers much quicker that the limestone at the top

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This is the Dhukan Petrol Station. Best samosas and coffee on the West coast and the only place to get fuel for a gazzilion miles.

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This mushroom has not got far to go before it collapses.

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This valley could be a film set for Mars.

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Near one of the outcrops we found these shells.

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It is a tricky bit of driving to get close to these things.

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A camel racing track is about 5 Km long and has 2 roads that run along it. The one my car is parked on is the outer road where the spectators race along side the camels in Land Cruisers to get a good view, the inner track is for the operators of the robots that guide the camels round the track.

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I want to put one more pic if a bug that bounced past me. It is about 1cm long.

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CHEERS

Edited by Jocky

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CH4ShotCaller

Very nice report and pictures, thanks! I lived in the UAE for a while many years ago and you're right. It's hotter than I had ever imagined.

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Ludwigia

Thanks for this very informative report! Looking forward to more :popcorn:

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Jocky

Very nice report and pictures, thanks! I lived in the UAE for a while many years ago and you're right. It's hotter than I had ever imagined.

Thanks for this very informative report! Looking forward to more :popcorn:

Thanks for the comments.

I am just getting started. The next bit will be on Geology as soon as I have time to compile it.

CHEERS

Edited by Jocky

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trilobiteruss

Very interesting, thanks for sharing!

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fossil26

Great report!! Can't wait to see more!

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Jocky

This is focussed on finding fossils in the Qatar desert so I will concentrate on the Geological markers that I know will point towards certain types of fossils.

Qatar is made up of Eocene limestone with sand on top to varying depths. A good guide is that if there is more sand then there are fewer fossils in that area:

Bad fossil area:

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Good fossil area:

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Hematite is a black rock that stands out like a sore thumb against the sand and lime stone. This is a huge indicator that you are in the right layer of the strata.

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The following rules have unearthed hundreds of shark teeth.

See the black area in the middle of the picture. That is where to head for first:

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And this is what it looks like close up:

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You can see in the above picture that shark teeth are plentiful if you are in the right area.

There is a lot of desert to cover:

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Shark teeth are nearly always found in the eroded areas in the limestone. These areas can be 3Km long. The pic above shows our cars parked in such an area.

Next instalment Gastropods.

Edited by Jocky

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fossil26

Such an interesting and vast landscape to collect in! Thanks for sharing again! :P keep em coming!

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Jocky

How to find Gastropods in Qatar Desert.

Finding good locations for Gastropod hunting are a bit more difficult than finding areas that will yield shark teeth. The Gastropods are normally up the side of a hill so a good pair of boots is a requirement. Rocks covered in a thin layer of sand make them very slippy and unstable so please be very careful when climbing about these hills.

You need to find a limestone hill that is in the process of being eroded:

This particular example is not great as the erosion has turned the rocks to mostly dust:

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This however is looking better as the particles of limestone are big enough to bear Gastropod fruit:

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This example is Gastropod hunting heaven:

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The Limestone rocks look like coral and from the holes out pop the Gastropods. The more the rock looks like Swiss cheese the more good examples will be in that area.

Look at the example below and you can just see one in the process of falling out the top right corner:

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The following are examples of what you should find near the bottom of the hill:

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If you dont find rough examples at the bottom then the chances of finding more pristine examples higher up are diminished significantly.

I went out this morning to get a few pics of different limestone hills and came across a little family of Bi-Valves:

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and between these 2 bits of gastropod there lies a bit of sand that has been struck by lightning turning it into glass:

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The Gastropods range from thumb sized to bigger than a man's head.

Good Luck

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trilobiteruss

More interesting info, thanks, much different collecting than here!

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davehunt

Great report and pictures! Thank you!

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Ludwigia

Thanks for the next installment. I'm beginning to wonder if Grampa Dino shouldn't go on holiday here :P

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Terry Dactyll

Im enjoying these posts to... Thanks.... Is that the chambers of a nautiloid eroding out the the top RH corner of the rock in the new post?....

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Scylla

Interesting fulgurite, do you find them often?

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Jocky

Thanks for the comments.

Grampa Dino would be welcome to come visit. I would leave it until around November as it is still a bit hot and sticky.

There are a few nautiloids like the one in the picture but the you have to find them quickly after exposure to the elements or they erode dramatically over just a few weeks or 1 good sandstorm. Thats why it is always good to go fossil hunting the day after a bad sandstorm. I have never seen a complete nautiloid.

No the fulgurite is a rare item. I have found tube shaped ones but they are so brittle they break when picked up. The flat version in the picture can be 1m wide and several CM thick, like a dull glass brick. The point of contact is thickest tapering down to spider web appearance at the edges. Very odd feeling / noise if you step on one.

I am going to photograph some of my better finds at home and that will be the next instalment.

CHEERS

Edited by Jocky

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AgrilusHunter

Thanks for this Jocky! Great fossils and great reports. I can't wait for the next installment!

BTW, your beautifully camouflaged 'bug' is a Common Ground Mantis, Eremiaphila baueri.

Edited by AgrilusHunter

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Jocky

Thanks for this Jocky! Great fossils and great reports. I can't wait for the next installment!

BTW, your beautifully camouflaged 'bug' is a Common Ground Mantis, Eremiaphila baueri.

Thanks for that. It was the only living thing I have seen in that part of the desert. Picture a big bloke with a camera on a macro setting shuffling along the desert floor chasing a Common Ground Mantis trying to get a picture. I skinned my knuckles, knees and pride that day but I gave my wife a good laugh.

CHEERS

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Bone Daddy

I realize this post is several years old, but I hope Jocky is still with us. :)

Jocky, do you ever find any meteorites while fossil hunting in the desert?

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doushantuo

NICE ONE,JOCK!!!

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