Soils and sediments

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.

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