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Link to US Geological Survey
Coastal and Marine Geology Program
Woods Hole Field Center

Geochemical Sediment Analysis Procedures, Open-File Report 02-371


Materials Required:
  • Agate Grinding Vessel
  • Ball Mill Grinder
  • Weighing Paper
  • Compressed air
  • Plastic Spoon
  • Small Brush
  • Sediment Sample
  • Sharpie
Preparation materials; link to larger image

Remove grinding vessel from the drying oven.

*Do not leave the plastic spoon in the oven for extended periods of time because it will warp.

Griding vessel inside oven; link to larger image

Assemble the grinding vessel in this order:

Bottom cap, o-ring, 2 agate balls, center cylinder.

Assembling agate vial ; link to larger image

Empty the 10 dram poly vial sample into the agate grinding vessel (approx. 3-5 g).

Add the second o-ring and top cap.

Pouring sediment into vial; link to larger image
Place grinding vessel in the ball mill grinder and screw tightly to hold the vessel in place. Placing vessel into grinder; link to larger image
Start the machine by closing the door of the ball mill grinder. Close grinder door; link to larger image

While the sample is being ground, use compressed air to remove excess sediment left in the original sample container.

After 5 minutes, remove vessel from grinder by opening lid and unscrewing the holding mechanism.

Spray old sediment out using compressed air; link to larger image

Empty the sediment onto a piece of weighing paper.


Empty sediment onto weighing paper; link to larger image
Use the plastic spoon to scrape off the sediment adhering to the vessel or use the small brush. Scrape off adhering sediment; link to larger image

Pour the ground sediment back into the vial and set the grinding vessel aside for acid washing.

Pour ground sediment back into vial; link to larger image

Label the vial with a "G" to denote that it is ground and return sample to box.

Label with "G"; link to larger image


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