I've got blisters on me fingers!

Well after two weeks of lab work, Im done drilling all the isotope samples for my stalagmite! My count is 232 samples plus a couple of "oops!" holes that I made and discarded the sample material from.  I used a dental drill on a dremel tool, and cleaned it with 1mol HCl and distilled water in between taking each sample. I used compressed air to dry the drill and blow any leftover material off the stalagmite in between samples. I tipped the material onto weighing papers, a new one for each sample, and put the material into small glass vials. Pics of that stuff later :)

I polished the stalagmite with 3 types of wet  use sandpaper , 600, 1000 and 1200 coarseness. Made a big difference in being able to see the layers. Tomorrow I just have to draw the scale along the growth axis and label the hendy test sampling sites (H1-H7, going from top to bottom).

 

 

  09-11-12 20:44:22, by tideypoo   , 154 words, Categories: Uncategorized , Leave a comment »

Slow and steady sees time fly by

Well! My plan was to have all the stable isotope samples finished by next week but that would take a miracle! While I have managed to get all the prep done, with help from Steffen and Martin at INK, I havent started yet as I have a course in statistics that is on (and its really fun, actually!). So hopefully I will spend at least one whole day next week in the lab and get a good start on things. I have sent off a this picture to the lab and professionals in charge of the dating work to find out where they would like the date material taken from.

Anyways, here is a scan at 600dpi taken on a copy machine - who knew they could do that! Isnt technology wonderful :)

The scale is a cm scale, and my sample is 19,1cm along that line.  That will make for around 190 samples for stable isotope analysis. Whee! Drill drilldrilldrill!

 

 

As you can see, sadly, my sample is broken - probably happened during the sawing but was not visible until I removed the plaster. Much gnashing of teeth from my part about that, lemme tell ya!

Martin and I went to the SU Butiken and purchased 350 glass sampling vials and papers to use for the sample material. My first time in the SU Butiken - some seriously cool stuff in there, and I understand now why everyone seems to drink Skånerost coffee. And all this time I just thought there was a common agreement that it was the best coffee ever. Meh.

  09-10-29 22:54:27, by tideypoo   , 260 words, Categories: Uncategorized , Leave a comment »

Point of no return - A trip to the saw man.

Today we drove to Uppsala to go to SGU and slice the stalagmites into thick sections!
It only took a couple of hours, which was much less than I had anticipated. The saw was gigantic, noisy, and looked like it would severely maim its operator at any second, but it was super fast!




Here we are lineing up my sample, now named G2u, to cut a 7mm thick section.


There it goes in the saw! There was dusty mist all over from this thing. Messy messy :D


Here is a closeup of the saw blade in action. Yikes!
Also, we discovered that more plaster is a good thing as it gives something to rest against the back plate of the saw and also makes sure the thick sections dont fall down thru the blade guide into the big, dirty, pool of water.



Yet another picture of G2u getting cut.


Here we have the finished thick section on the left and the remaining stalagmite material on the right.


Here is another shot of the thick section.


And a final large size image of G2u, thick section on the right this time :)

 

  10/01/09 06:00:15 pm, by tideypoo   , 191 words, Categories: Uncategorized , Leave a comment »

Day One - Making a mess!

Well today was the first day of working on the preparation of the material for my masters thesis!

I made a box for my sample material and mixed plaster of paris to cast the stalagmite in the box. I did this to make the sample easier to handle and more stable for when we cut the thick section from it.

The box is made from scrap cardboard (go recycling!) and packing tape, and measures around 27cmx7cmx7cm.

It was a bit difficult to stablize it so that the flat inner surface of the stalagmite was paralell with the box side so I made some support inserts to hold it in position.

We filled the box up to around 4-5cm from the bottom as it has a very uneven surface.

The plaster of paris was hilarious - holy messy! Also, way more than 1/3 water was needed to make it possible to pour - boo on package directions!




Here we see the lovely sample with items for scale.


Partially finished box and sample.



Sample now stabalized with the oh-so-nifty bits of cardboard.


Overhead view showing the extra room in the box, soon to be filled with plaster!


Some extra wedges were added to make sure the flat surface was paralell to the box sides.



Now filled with gooey plaster! Tomorrow it will be dry and I can take the box off  :D

 

 

 

  09/28/09 10:35:33 pm, by tideypoo   , 230 words, Categories: Uncategorized , Leave a comment »