Friday, November 9, 2007

Core Curating

We are at the halfway point of our time here, which means all the educators will soon be switching job assignments. Kate Pound and I have been working with the curatorial team - Simon Nielsen, Stacie Blair, and Ted Bibby on the day shift. Our job is to log and take the samples from the core requested by the various scientists each day at the core tour. There are many steps involved in doing it properly and it can take quite a long time. We have had as many as 248 samples on one day from 24 meters of PQ size core.

A day of sampling actually starts at the morning 9:30am all ANDRILL meeting when Chris Fielding shares the overview of the new sections of core described overnight by the stratigraphy team. Then we all troop down to the lab for the core tour, led by one of the sedimentologists-Greg Browne, Steve Pekar or Kari Bassett. They highlight features that they believe might be of interest to the various discipline groups and begin to talk about what interpretations might be made from the core.

The core is then available for the scientists to place their sample flags at areas of interest. Sometimes there are areas that are of high interest to many groups, leading to very dense flags and sampling. Then smear slide samples are taken by the diatomists followed at 12:00 by the paleomag team taking their little round samples. At 1:30 the curatorial team starts taking the remainder of the samples.

The first step is to record the core interval of each sample and which investigator requested it in the computer. From this database we print labels for the sample bags. Depending on the hardness of the sediment, we take the samples with scoops, knives, or a dimond bladed rock saw. Each sample gets its own specially labled bag which goes into the box for that scientist. Some samples are taken for scientists who are working in Italy, Germany, or the US and will have to be shipped off the ice to them.

After the samples have been taken, the empty holes are filled in with styrofoam to keep the core in good shape. Then it is sprayed down with water to keep it from getting too brittle, double wrapped in plastic and taped securely. These wrapped sections will be stored in the core freezer in their labeled, waxy, cardboard boxes until it is time to ship them back to Florida State University.

What information do you include in your notebook when you take a scientific sample? What might you need to know later about that sample?

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