Cool Discoveries for the Armchair Adventurer

Lisa Tate

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It is easy to get down and disillusioned these days. Historic statues are being toppled (many with people knowing the history), and people are talking about demolishing, removing or erasing from history everything from books, shows, and photos that might depict something that may offend someone somewhere.

However, flying under the radar is the fact that there are still new discoveries all the time. There are new and wonderful things that innovative people from different areas of study are finding. Since we all need a little positive in this world, here are some cool things people have recently discovered in the past decade (and even this year).

Archaeologists Uncovered a 3rd Century Roman Mosaic Floor in Italy

Earlier this year, Superintendent of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of Verona had returned to work on an ancient Roman villa site near the town of Negrar di Valpolicella that had been pretty much ignored since it was first discovered in 1922. The team uncovered a beautiful tile mosaic floor hidden just a few feet below vines and rubble. They are currently working on a way for this recently uncovered treasure to be accessible for public viewing. Archaeologist Gianni De Zuccato said he was “thrilled like a child” at the discovery and compared it to being in a time machine. I agree. This mosaic is stunning.

A Real-Life Kermit the Frog Was Found in Costa Rica

It is no surprise there are plenty of varieties of animals and new species still hidden in the remote natural areas, but it isn’t everyday we get to meet Kermie. In 2015, though, scientists ran across a little semi translucent glass frog in the Talamanca Mountains in Central America, who looks nearly identical to Kermit. The actual scientific name of this little cutie is Hyalinobatrachium dianae, but let's be honest, no one is going call him that.

The 10-Year Search for a Million Dollar Treasure Was Successful

If you didn't see Paul Hair's link to this story last week, here's a recap.

Ten years ago, an antique collector-cum-treasure hunter named Forrest Fenn created a hunt for a "treasure chest filled with gold, rubies, emeralds and diamonds" somewhere around the Rocky Mountains. He had published a poem with clues in his autobiography The Thrill of the Chase, and thousands of people have searched for this treasure since. A couple of weeks ago, "someone" found it Fenn said, and it is estimated to be worth more than $1 million. This treasure hunt drew more than 350,000 people. Some people even lost their jobs, and at least four lost their lives. Finally, according to Fenn, the hunt is over. Since, Fenn hasn’t yet produced any “hard evidence” the treasure was found, there are many who think this whole "hidden treasure" was a hoax.

Whether or not we discover this found "treasure" is a hope or a hoax, time will tell. But it does make one heck of a story.

Finally, since this is the year of Space X and the Space Force, we shouldn’t forget…

There Are Opals on Mars

In the summer of 2015, NASA announced that an opal was discovered on the Mars surface. Opals, being made of silica and water, were a suggestion of a possible ecosystem on the planet. Flowing water was found after. The “hydrated silica” was discovered by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter designed to study the geology, climate, and possible future landing sites on the surface of Mars. Other minerals were found such as gypsum and hematite, but the idea of Martian opal just has that Uncle Scrooge adventure appeal.

In this year of destroying, closing up, and tearing down, we need to take comfort in the fact that exploration, discoveries, and storytelling still exist. Never stop searching, never stop learning, and never stop sharing hope.

Mars Image Credit: NASA

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