Micromorphology is the study of soils and sediments in thin section. Samples are taken in Kubiena tins, which allows for the removal of undisturbed blocks of sediment from a section. The creation of a thin section takes around four to five months. Water is removed and replaced by acetone exchange and then impregnated under vacuum using polyester crystic resin and a catalyst. The blocks are cured for up to 4 weeks, sliced and bonded to glass and precision lapped to 30μm with a cover slip. The samples are described using a MEIJI ML9200 polarizing microscope. A range of magnifications (40x-400x) and constant light sources (plane polarised light –PPL, cross-polars –CPL, circular polarised light and oblique incident light – OIL) are used in the descriptions.
A comprehensive micromorphological service is provided which can be tailored to your specific requirements and budget. Depending upon your needs the package can comprise, supply of kubiena tins, in-field advice and sampling, rapid production of large thin sections, assessment and/or full analysis and the production of a comprehensive report with a summary suitable for inclusion in the site publication.
Argyll Archaeology also provides a specialist environmental soil and sediment service comprising remote or on-site advice for environmental sampling strategies; field recording of soils and sediments and geomorphological mapping and interpretation.