The McLean Laboratory is located on the Quissett Campus near the village of Woods Hole, Mass. The samples are kept in two curatorial facilities that total more than 10,000 square foot. The two storage repositories are joined by a connector that houses instrument and processing labs. Within the large curation spaces there are two walk in refrigerators [total cool space = 1450 square feet] and a humidity controlled ‘dry room’ where sensitive sulfide samples from deep sea hydrothermal vents are stored. Most of the cores are split longitudinally and stored room temperature “moist” on special racks in sealed “D-tubes”. The facilities have a capacity of more than 85,000 core sections, and nearly 16,000 discreet rock storage drawers. Those samples that require special preservation are kept at 4 degrees Centigrade in the walk-in cooler. Rocks, submersible material and grabs are shelved chronologically by ship and expedition in the same area. Finally, a walk in freezer [540 sq. ft.] is kept at -45 degrees Centigrade for storage of ice cores, principally from the Greenland Ice Cap. The freezer is equipped with two specially configured saws for linear and cross ice core cutting.
Equipment at the Laboratory
- Core splitting systems: Manual and automated equipment is on hand to carefully open deep-sea sediment core sections for subsampling and analysis. A variety of core diameters and core liner materials can be accommodated.
- Rock preparation equipment: We maintain an array of diamond saws of various capacities including micro-blade devices and a complete thin section preparation laboratory. Portable saws are on hand for sea-going operations.
- XRF X-Ray and Elemental Anaylsis - We have an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) Core Scanner that tells us how much of different elements are in a core. It also takes an x-ray of the core, which is very similar to the x-ray you might get at the doctor if you had a broken arm.
- Microscopes: The lab inventories includes camera-equipped petrographic scopes for viewing thin sections, normal and phase contrast polarizing scopes utilized in smear slide analysis and a variety of binocular microscopes for foraminiferal studies.
- Subsampling facilities and accessories: A sampling laboratory is located adjacent to the storage areas where tools and sampling expendables are on hand for use by visiting investigators.
Check out the 360° tour of one section of the laboratory at the McLean Building. One side shows mostly cores which are stored in "D-tubes" while the other side houses rocks and corals in drawers.