Seafloor Samples Laboratory Woods Hole Oceanographic Insitution



pillow lava
Fresh pillow basalts, Mid Atlantic Ridge
Deep Sea Sediment Cores
Cores in the WHOI collection are archived and described according to standards established in the early 1970’s. The routine application of these procedures assures that all the material can be viewed comparatively and that logging of station data is comprehensive and consistent.

After splitting, all the cores in the collection are visually described to produce a lithologic log that shows in standard conventions the major ‘units’ that can be distinguished downcore. Munsell color, texture, bioturbation, unit transition or contact and any extraordinary content are annotated carefully over the length of the sediment core. Smear slides are prepared and microscopically analyzed. The abundance of biogenic and inorganic components such as calcareous and siliceous microfossils, volcanic glass and manganese micronodules are estimated to determine sediment type. The results are combined in a standard core description format [click here for a sample core description (pdf format)].

We have produced eight comprehensive volumes of core descriptions to date, and have distributed these compilations to marine geological centers and libraries around the world. Many of the descriptions are currently linked as PDF files in SC2000 [go to SC2000 page] and can be viewed online. We are in the process of preparing the remaining lithologic logs and smear slide analyses for use on the WWW.

Seafloor Rock Samples
Rocks in the collection are described and logged in a standard format as well [click for an example image]. Major type, phenocryst and matrix minerologies, weathering, metamorphism and many other petrologic parameters are annotated for each specimen. Once the entire dredge haul [or Alvin station etc.] has been thoroughly described the results are summarized and digitized by weight percent per category and type. Again these data are available online with SC2000 in various forms [click for a sample (pdf format)] depending on your search method or ‘map layer’.