A New Zealander’s quest to find Noah’s Ark has suffered a double blow, with two samples he gathered in Turkey turning out to be rock, not petrified timber. Ross Patterson delivered the samples to crown research institute Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS) in Wellington. Senior geologist Hamish Campbell, who examined the samples, said they were not wood or fossil material, but volcanic rock. One of the samples had “a lovely platey fabric” and Dr Campbell said he could see why Mr Patterson thought they might be fossil wood. “I’m all for somebody chasing something like this – it makes life interesting. GNS offers a service and we are very happy to sample rock in this way.”

Mr Patterson, 40, a freelance computer programmer based in Whangarei and Lower Hutt, visited the Mt Ararat region with his brother Keith Patterson, Whangarei retired pilot Geoff McCall, and three non-denominational friends from the United States and Sweden. Mr Patterson took his samples from the surface of the site, as the group did not have a permit to dig.

Mr Patterson said that despite his sample results, he would not give up and had “only scratched the surface”. He hoped to return next year when an American university would carry out another scan, and use it as a basis to apply for permits to excavate.

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