Sample preparation

The samples we are working with come from cores or from outcrops, and can be divided into lithified samples and non-lithified samples. Preparation steps will depend on the purpose of the study and the type of material investigated. Lithified samples are often split with a rock saw, and thin section stubs can be cut to make thin sections for petrographical analysis. Rock samples can also be stained to reveal their mineralogy. A dental drill can be used on lithified samples to collect carbonate powders from small sample zones in order to analyse their stable isotope composition. Soft sediments are often freeze-dried, soaked in a solution, and then washed over various sieves to extract components from the sediment. For paleoclimate studies, foraminifers are typically picked out of a given size fraction using a picking microscope and then analysed on our mass spectrometer. All of the necessary facilities are available to the group.