Mineral sample laboratory

The museum’s mineral preparation laboratory prepares specimens from the collections for further analysis with SEM, geochemical and optical description/identification. 

Specimens may be unique, rare, recently collected and delicate. They include sediments, rocks, meteorites, fossil fragments and type specimens.

Depending on the type of analysis, specimens are either made into polished blocks, thin sections, polished hand specimens or wafers. 

The laboratory has a wide range of equipment which can be used to help prepare sensitive material that cannot be prepared using standard techniques. This equipment includes a high precision saw used for cutting meteorites and other sensitive samples with minimal loss of material. 

The samples prepared by the mineral preparation laboratory have played a key role in the research carried out by the Museum, including the discovery of new minerals.

Standard internal slide dimensions are 48x26mm with the standard blocks being 25mm in diameter. Other size can be made on request but may not be compatible with other instruments in the department.

The services of the laboratory are available to museum staff. Students, post docs, and PhD students may be charged depending on status. Specimen preparation costs should be included in grant applications.

Museum lead

Mr Tony Wighton, geological preparator